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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The big reveal...

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble. (Proverbs 28:13-14 NLT)

You might have heard it said that confession is good for the soul - it is also good for everything else! I am not talking about the kind of confession where you tell a man in a small wooden box your sins while you are kneeling in a small wooden box next to him. I am talking about the willingness to be transparent when you do something wrong, to take responsibility, and to seek forgiveness from those you have hurt in the process (God first, then others, and even yourself).

Concealment involves keeping something under cover. I liken it to the covering over of an object with twigs and leaves to have it "blend in unnoticed" in the forest. The idea of concealing anything is that you don't want it noticed - you don't want it to catch the attention of anyone. You know it is there, but you don't want others to know it exists. It involves putting something "out of sight", but also "under cover" - both with the intent of limiting "disclosure".

I don't want everyone to know my security password for my bank account - it is concealed and I do my best to keep it that way. I use this "concealment tactic" wisely as it applies to keeping the security of my bank account. I would not be using this same tactic wisely if I sought to hide money from someone in an unknown account, or perhaps even hide a wrong-doing I was engaged in such as an illegal activity. Concealment has a "right time and place" - the purpose of which is to protect something from those who should not have access to it.

Concealment also has a "wrong intent" - especially when it is to attempt to hide a wrong-doing or cover-up an unwise action on our part. Confession is the "bringing out into the open" - but it isn't to flaunt the wrong-doing, or to shame the one who has taken unwise steps with one's life. It is always to bring restoration - to reveal the misguided actions is to place one self in the place where those actions can be corrected, not engaged in again, and replaced with more wholesome (right and true) actions.

In God's economy, truthfulness with him yields grace in return. Confession is met not with judgment and condemnation, but with love and grace. It might be hard for us to grasp this concept because our immediate action to someone having done wrong is to find fault with their missteps. We want to poke at their failure as though we were poking at an open wound. There is no stopping how hurtful we can sometimes be when someone actually engages in the action of no longer concealing their wrong-doing. Wisdom demands grace - foolishness always renders judgment and condemnation.

God wants us to be wise in our treatment of another's wrong-doing. He wants us to be graceful and loving in our response to their transparency - for he knows how hard it was for them to "uncover" what they had been keeping under wraps for sometimes a very long time. Grace doesn't rip the cover off - it allows the twigs and leaves to be removed one by one until what is underneath all that concealment is fully and completely revealed. Love even holds their hand while they gradually lift those twigs and pull away those layers and layers of protection. Just sayin!