Come Out of Hiding

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What was your first reaction when, as a child, you did something wrong that you didn’t want your parents to find out about?

Hide yourself or hide the evidence.

Adam and Eve tried that. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:7, 8).

I always got caught. So did Adam and Eve.

On one of the rare occasions that I babysat the pastor’s kids, they behaved badly. When I threatened to tell their father, they pleaded with me for mercy. I granted their request and didn’t tell on them. Several days later I discovered that, burdened with guilt, they confessed what they had done to their father anyway!

Adam and Eve got it wrong, and the kids got it right. It’s never good to try to hide our wrongdoing from the One who knows when we sit up and when we lie down, as David writes in Psalm 139. Later in that psalm, the author says: “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (139:11, 12).

John picks up the theme when he says about Jesus: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4, 5). A little later these words, spoken by Jesus, are recorded for us: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (3:19-21). We are prone to try to hide our sin, to crouch in the darkness and hope we don't get caught.

I’m not sure what prompted the pastor’s kids to admit to what they had done. Perhaps they didn’t trust me to keep my promise. Perhaps the burden of guilt that comes from trying to hide the truth was too much for them. Whatever it was, they exemplified this truth: It’s always a good idea to confess our sins and seek forgiveness as soon as we can.

God knows everything. Despite what He knows, and despite our tendency to try to hide our guilty little secrets in the hopes that no one will find us out, He offers to us this promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

There is one not-so-small detail that needs to be mentioned that I will preface with this story. I sat down with a friend who told me that she asked God’s forgiveness every night as she went to bed with her boyfriend. I was startled and dismayed! She knew she was wrong but had no intention of doing things differently. John writes: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

To be forgiven, the one who claims to walk in the light with Jesus must abandon the darkness of sin. True repentance demands nothing less.

We can’t fool Him—He knows. Better to ‘fess up to the Father, leave the sin in the dark where it belongs, receive his forgiveness, and walk in His light.

Good plan for this new year.

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