I've been thinking a lot lately about how we handle our own sin in the church and how the Bible says that we should. In the church we so often hide our sin rather than allow anyone to know about it. I know I do it often.
But, Job 31:33-34 got me thinking about whether this is right when I read it earlier today. It says:
"if I have concealed my sin as men do, by hiding my guilt in my heart because I so feared the crowd . . ."
In this chapter, Job is talking about about things that he didn't do in his life. Job was saying that he didn't try to hide his sin . . . and that this is a good thing.
It is our natural tendency to hide our sin because we're worried what other people might think of us if they found out. But, maybe our - my own - tendency to try to hide my sin isn't good.
When sin is kept secret it retains its power over us. But, when sin is no longer a secret it loses much of its power over us. In James 5:16 we are told to confess our sins to one another. It is extolled as something good that we are supposed to do.
I think that most of the time this practice of confessing our sins to a trusted Christian brother or sister is something that is sorely missing in the church today. We have gotten so caught up in this idea of "image management" and worries about what others think of us that we don't want anyone else to know about struggles.
But the church wasn't meant to work this way! The church should be the one place where can and do safely share our struggles and confess our sins to break their power over us! But, sadly, it is often the last place that people want to admit any of their weaknesses, because of a fear of what other people will think of them.
I wonder what would happen if the church would finally move beyond this and begin to confess our sins, struggles, tempations, weaknesses to one another in safe non-judgmental environments. Obviously, we don't have to go into great detail, but so often just admitting that you're struggling with sin in an area of your life breaks so much of the power. Think of all the strangelholds of Satan that could be broken by bringing secrets out into the open. It would be pretty cool!