“The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later” (1 Timothy 5:24).
There are things we do that despite our best efforts to cover them up become public knowledge – much to our embarrassment. Other things we may think we have gotten away with because we manage to keep our deeds secret. But we are merely fooling ourselves if we think this way. Sure, we can sometimes “pull the wool” over the eyes of even those who are close to us, but not so with God because “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Many a husband or wife has indulged in a “secret” affair with someone other than their spouse. Some get away with it, but most don’t. Many who do these things try to excuse and justify their actions, but such is nothing but fooling ourselves.
David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by setting up a meeting between her and Uriah her husband, in which it would be concluded that Bathsheba’s pregnancy was by her husband. When that didn’t work, he managed to have Uriah killed in battle so he couldn’t make any accusations against him. But David had to face the facts when Nathan the prophet came to him and pointed the finger of blame squarely at David. “David, you are the man!” You are guilty before God!
But all our secrets do not necessarily involve the deeds we do. There are secret thoughts that will face us in judgment. We may not tell others our thoughts and we may even refuse to face the implications of what we believe about ourselves.
We tell ourselves that “things” are valuable and so we value things. When we value things our lives become centered on material things. We become materialistic. Yet we deny our materialism and pretend that we are spiritual because we “go to church” like a “good Christian.” But when we think and talk constantly about our money, our cars, our houses and such things we betray what is in our hearts. But even if we are able to keep our obsession with things from others, God still knows – and will judge us as being guilty of idolatry!
“If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalm 44:20-21).
We can have secret addictions in our heart. Many a person has been caught in the snare of pornography and because they never mention that secret to anyone else think they have gotten away with it. The only problem is, addictions such as this become evident in numerous ways. It becomes evident in the way we think and act toward others. We will look at and treat those of the opposite sex as objects, not as people made in the image of God.
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).
To honestly look into our own hearts and face up to the faults and flaws – and sin – we find is one of the most difficult things we can do. We don’t like what is there so we deny that it is there. We prefer living in denial to facing the truth about ourselves. This tendency to hide from our real selves in denial of the truth is just another illustration of the deceitfulness of sin.
This is why so many find the word of God so hard to deal with. When we turn to the Bible in order to understand its message to us we find that we are “naked and exposed” before our Creator.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13).
God knows mankind. He knows the hearts and minds of every one of us. He knows when we are trying to get by with something, when we are trying to hide a secret, when we are lying to ourselves and to others. Despite all the games we play, all our attempts at keeping our sin secret is nothing but self-deception.
“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8).
It matters not that we keep secrets from others – they are not our judges. It is God who will judge us in the last day.
“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17).
This business of keeping our sins secret is a serious matter. There is only one good way to deal with our dirty little secrets and that is to face up to them and confess that we are guilty.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).
Remember – we may fool others about our sins with a little “sleight of hand” or misdirection, we may fool ourselves with our internal justifications but we can never fool God.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).