Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

“Concealing sin … ”

Proverbs 28v14 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (NIV)

From the fall in the garden of Eden, us humans have tried to cover up our sin. Adam and Eve, when they had disobeyed God, made garments and hid from God (Genesis 3v7-8). King David, when he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, thought he could cover his tracks; he seemed successful for a time, until the prophet Nathan came and brought revelation from God (2 Samuel 11-12). Despite their attempts to cover it, Adam and Eve lost the garden, and David would find calamity coming in his own household. We can also easily fall into the deflection technique as we highlight another’s sin in order to camouflage our own.

In the well-known verse in Numbers 32v23, Moses says, “ … you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” In its context, it was hard for Moses to tell the motives for what the tribes Gad and Reuben were doing, he could only take them at their word. But he was warning them that any sin is against God, and sin has a natural tendency to come out in the end. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “sin” in our Bibles literally means “to miss the mark so as not to share in the prize,” and hence Paul is stating the obvious when he writes in Romans 3v23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But Proverbs 28 also has the alternative action: to “confess and renounce” our sins. This is to admit our wrong doing or thinking, and determine to not repeat it. The result is to “find mercy”. The writer of Proverbs confirms this mercy in 10v12, “Love covers over all wrongs.” His point is that love is shown in forbearance and forgiveness. King David has a similar appreciation in his Psalms of confession ( 32 and 51). Psalm 32 begins “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sins are covered.” While we cannot cover our own sins, the New Testament teaches that the blood of Christ completely and permanently covers our sins.

Our response to sin, whether our own or other people’s, is important. When we have confessed, renounced and received forgiveness for our own sin, we are then able to help remove the speck from another person’s eye (Matthew 7v5). The true Christian response to sin is therefore to confess and renounce my own sin, then help others deal with their sin, and at the same time offer love shown in forbearance and forgiveness. This is not easy, but with God’s help, we will.


With love and blessing,