Sometimes there aren’t enough Facebook buttons to properly express my reaction.
No, I’m not talking about when I’m angry. Though there are plenty of times that the angry face just doesn’t cut it. How does hitting a crying face emoji suffice in expressing true sadness? Come on now, that surprised face doesn’t have the jaw hanging almost to the floor look that I’m sure I have in real life. And we all have to admit a heart emoji falls short of all the ways we use it and cannot express the extent of our love.
Because, even on Facebook, we encounter truth that hits deeper than any reaction button can convey and words fall short of expressing how much we needed those words.
And this was one of those times:
A facebook friend posted that as a status on January 19th; I don’t think a day has passed since that I haven’t thought of it. In fact, I’ve talked about it to countless people. And God has been working this thought through as He is showing me truth in the Word that I need to hear and heed. ‘Cause that statement hit hard in the most delicate of places, destroying strongholds in order to restore tenderhearted pieces that were in need of mending.
It speaks restorative truth in two ways: First, to our own hearts. Second to our witness.
“If I’m not ready and willing to talk with you about the sins in my life, then I say nothing regarding the gospel of Christ.”
Let’s stop here for a minute and talk about sin.
1- We all have it.
2- It is destructive, eternally and temporally.
3- The effects of sin are pervasive and it affects more than can we comprehend as it brings death and destruction in its wake.
4- Even when we want to evict sin from our lives, we can’t overcome it of our own volition.
And that, dear friends, right there is where the # list stops because right there the game changes, the rules are found insufficient, the chain reaction ends…
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
God’s love-mercy-grace brings salvation and redemption. And just like 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
And yet… it doesn’t take long before we come face-to-face with the truth of Romans 7. Oh, Romans 7, my heart so often aches at the truth of these verses, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. ” Sanctification is a life-long process and the struggle of sin and righteousness will battle on in our hearts. And though we are a new creation, though we’ve been set free from the law of sin and death… we still choose that which is what God would have for us to do and we sin.
And I have a question for you: How do you respond when your mercy-lavished, grace-filled, loved-beyond imagining self chooses to sin? Do you bring it to the light or hide it in the darkness? <– this is big question.
Do you admit the sin for what it is and confess that openly to God and to those you’ve wronged? Do you figuratively look around to see if anyone noticed before you decide to out yourself? Do you go on pretending with a “move along, nothing to see here” attitude?
I’ll ask (us) again: How do you respond when you sin? Do you bring it to the light or hide it in the darkness?
I know what it is to want my sin to hide in the darkness, to want to avoid having my sin brought to the light. AND I know what the word tells us:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 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.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
1 John 1:5-10, 2:1
So then, why would we hide our sins? I’ll offer a few thoughts. It could be we are fearful that if we have sin, maybe salvation didn’t “stick.” Perhaps hiding our sin seems a better choice than being found as a “fraud.” Maybe we’re determined that we should “be beyond this sin stuff, ” thinking we’re stronger than this we resolve that sin just shouldn’t be there in our lives.
So we hide it… but it eats away at us. The darkness will do that, with lies veiled in half-truths we’ll listen and hide that sin, burying darkness deeper inside. No wonder we find ourselves feeling fearful, overwhelmed by anxiety creeping in, dissatisfied in shallow friendships, and inauthentic in our faith.
We’ve bought into the lie that will come to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus has come that we may have life and have it to the fullest.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
So we come back to that Facebook status: “If I’m not ready and willing to talk with you about the sins in my life, then I say nothing regarding the gospel of Christ.” Thinking on this I see that there are two ways God has been challenging me, 1- am I speaking this gospel truth to myself? and 2- am I living this with others?
Firstly… to ourselves. If we are not ready and willing to talk, to confess our sins then we aren’t preaching the gospel of Christ to ourselves. We are choosing to hide in darkness, to be eaten away from the inside out by the sin we are trying to hide. God’s word tell us right there in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
His faithful forgiveness is as true of our sins today as it was of the sins up to the day of our salvation.
Preach the gospel (good news, truth) of God’s mercy, grace and love in your life every day as you confess your sins to him and receive life-giving forgiveness.
Here is what I suggest, as it was suggested to me: spend time this week studying Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. Allow God to speak truth into your life on confession from Psalm 51 and follow that with the truth on forgiveness found in Psalm 32. Then… next week, I will write the second half of this message that’s been on my heart, how our confession of our sins to one another allows us to speak the gospel to them.
Lord, I ask that you would work the truth of this message in our hearts and minds. If we have found the truth of your Word contained here, may this work deeply in us to bring us closer in our walk with you as you work your loving sanctification with in us. Lord, help us to hear, to believe and to live your truth. Amen.
Thanks, friends, for reading. I’m praying these words were a blessing to you and that they give honor and glory to God.