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If we fall down and get a cut on our hand or leg, it is not sufficient to put a bandage on the wound. The wound may get infected and cause more serious problems. What we need to do is to wash the wound properly, apply medicine for disinfecting it and then bandage it up. Wounds in our mind and heart can actually be more serious because they may go unnoticed, and we may cover them up with pretensions. Then they fester inside, and cause deep damage to our thinking, feeling and behaviour.
"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'; And You forgave the guilt of my sin" (Ps.32:3-5).
This is not what modern teaching is! Now we are taught to think positively, avoid the negative, take our place 'in Christ' and believe that God has forgiven all our sins even before we sinned! "We're good!" we tell others, and swallow the pain more deeply. 'By faith' we go through the motions of praise and worship and can't understand why we are still 'messed up'!
The truth will set us free surely, but only when we accept it (Jn.8:32). The first truth to accept is that we have sinned (1Jn.1:8,10). Then, after that, we can come to the truth that we have a High Priest who understands what we are going through (He.4:15), and who intercedes for us (7:25). We can confess our sins honestly and sincerely to God, repent, and receive forgiveness freely without any punishment (1Jn.1:9).
When we cover up our sins – by pretending we didn't do them, blaming others, minimising them, excusing ourselves – our guilt remains and gnaws at our heart painfully. Our self-esteem suffers, our boldness goes down before God and people, we try to withdraw or go on overdrive to make an impression. Unawares, we form strategies of behaviour that can affect every area of life and make things go increasingly bad for us. Covering up our sins will really hurt! It becomes a downward spiral, maybe so slowly at first that we don't notice it, but soon we find ourselves caught in sinking sands.
God is waiting for us to 'come to our senses', get back to Him and open up everything to Him. This is what it means to come into the light. Unless our sin involves hurting others, we don't have to go around confessing all sins publicly. We will find that God is not angry with us; He always knew what was happening, and His heart was aching with compassion towards us. He will wash our sins, and give us a clean slate again (Is.1:18,19). Once we have experienced this, we can learn to avoid wasting time with long drawn guilt and shame, and to be open with the Lord on a continual basis – 'walking in the light'. It is not that we don't fall, but we are no longer trying to hide or cover up, but walking with openness.