Living With A Secret Sin
Long before a child of God is exposed for their secret sins they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. If there is no such conviction then perhaps you are not a child of God. Many a Christian stood to offer up the mass, preach, teach, sing or serve in a public fashion this past Sunday who is living with a sin that very possibly could lead to a very hurtful and disgraceful fall. There are three reasons why you did not already confess and forsake it.
- You are addicted to it. Even when you confess it you do not truly forsake it, so you end up returning to it.
- You have no idea what to do to. It is one thing to face God with the sin, but what about facing your pastor, your parish or your family? This leads to the third reason.
- You fear the consequences of full and total repentance. That's right. To get right would change some things. You fool yourself into thinking that maybe you can get away with it, even though you know deep down the time is coming when it is going to explode in your face.
So, what can you do? What should you do? I have often gone back to the times when I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit for sin in my own life and I have pondered what I should have done rather than waiting for it to happen. Had I done these things I believe much heartache could have been averted.
- Have your own Psalm 51 time of full repentance and confession before God. David laid bare his soul before God and this was the beginning of a new day in David's life. (Take time to read, meditate and study Psalms 51)
- Forsake the sin, which may mean "forsaking" a person. This is huge. If your sin is with another person, go to them and confess that you have sinned against God and used them for your own pleasure. Ask for their forgiveness, but DO NOT try to fix them or do damage control. Walk away and let God deal with them. You cannot be a hero. You were a participant in their fall. Let God deal with them.
- Go to the one(s) to whom you are accountable. Oh yes you are! Everyone is accountable. Maybe you have refused to acknowledge and submit, but you are accountable. If you are married you are accountable to your spouse. If you are a pastor, you are accountable to your people. It may be through your board, but you are accountable. Go to those to whom you are accountable to confess your sin openly and honestly. I would call this beating the devil to the punch. Satan will use what we do not submit. If we submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he can convict others to treat us with justice. If not, Satan will have more room to influence them.
- Swallow your pride before others strip it from you. You can wait until you are humble or you can humble yourself. You are going to face some humbling moments which will either humble you are expose that you have already humbled yourself. People's reaction to you will differ accordingly.
- Accept the consequences before others force them on you. Pastor, present your resignation to your Bishop if it is appropriate. Do not wait to be fired. Husband or wife, offer total accountability to your spouse before they demand it. You can do the right thing or others can force the right thing upon you, in which case will make it worse.
- Break all ties with the sin. I said ALL ties. Do not contact the person or revisit the website or whatever the case may be. DO NOT keep ties with that sin in any way.
- Ask for mercy, but do not demand it or even expect it. You will be sorely disappointed if you think everyone is going to act like you think they should or hope they will. Just ask for their mercy and let God deal with their hearts.
- Expect fallout. There will be some. The quicker you make right the sin the less there will be. If, however, you wait to be caught in your sin, it will be significantly worse.
- Believe that God is going to open new doors for his service and they will be just as wonderful. Despondency comes from thinking that it is all over. Do not think that because it is a lie. God still has a purpose for your life.
- Set up safeguards of accountability so that you do not return to the sin. Be proactive and totally transparent.
Tonight go to sleep as though your whole past has been dropped. Die to the past. And in the morning wake up as a new man in a new morning. Don’t let the same one who went to bed get up. Let him go to sleep for good.