The Pain of Secret Sin

by Bryant Evans on December 31, 2008

Secret sins are exceptionally common. We all have them or at least have had them in the past. They often lie enmeshed in our greatest spiritual weaknesses and there thrive on our embarrassment and feelings of worthlessness and helplessness. Secret sins are the ones that have the greatest power over our lives and the greatest ability to destroy. They are the ones that if they become widely known will crush us in humiliation.

The wisdom of Solomon had something to say about these hidden spiritual monsters.

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
(Proverbs 28:13)

Let’s remember first of all that there is really no such thing as a secret sin or concealed transgression – at least not from God’s perspective. Again, Solomon reminds us that “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). As Jonah discovered, there is no hiding from Jehovah (Jonah 1:3,4). But it is true that sin can often be hidden from men and that seems to be what Solomon has in mind here.

Sin, whether public or secret, really is like a cancerous tumor upon the soul, spirit and emotions of man. Hidden sin brings with it fears and feelings of powerlessness. Continued hiding only makes the problem worse. There is always a fear of discovery and embarrassment that follows us like a dark shadow day by day. There is no escaping from its dread. As such, it holds us back and stifles our every attempt at freedom. One cannot prosper when the weight of sin is so great.

But the wise king does not leave his readers in despair. He declares there is freedom from secret sin! You see, the power of secret sin is in its, well, secrecy. Once secrecy is shattered the sin is no more powerful than any other. They key word is “confess.” By confessing your sin to God and your Christ-loving brethren you do two important things.

  • You shatter the power of secrecy. Obviously, once it is public there is no longer the fear of “getting caught.” The sin is known and it has lost all power it may have had before.
  • You open highways of support and strength. By removing obstacles to discussion you are now in a position to build bridges of trust with your brethren. You’ll be surprised how many have faced similar problems. Together you will draw upon each others strength and determination to live free of that sin.

But we must not overlook the final phrase of the passage. For Solomon there is no consideration of remaining in the sin and just feeling sorry. Solomon says that we must forsake the hidden transgression. We often call this “repentance.” A man must leave his sin and seek the compassion found only in Christ. There is no possibility of making a secret sin into a pet sin. It must be gone. To be sure, the temptation will remain for a while, but our goal is the complete elimination of that sin from our lives. No excuses, just full and complete forsaking of the sin.

In Hebrews 12:1 the writer speaks of the “sin which so easily entangles us.” He calls on us to eliminate that sin and run with endurance the spiritual race. What sin entangles you? What secret sin has your number? Is today the day you will destroy its power and forsake it? Remember that God’s compassion awaits you.

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