Don’t you long for public figures: politicians, Hollywood stars, athletes, and others to repent, come clean, and openly confess their sin? I long for a public figure who’s guilty of a sin to say, “Yes, I did that. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me? I don’t ever want to do that again.” I think I’d pass out if I ever heard one of the powerful say that. What prevents them and us from doing that? The number one reason is pride. Our pride refuses to come clean. That’s not all. Fear is right up there as a reason for not publicly confessing sin. We fear the consequences if we admit to what we’ve done.
Those reasons and others are described in Genesis 3 in the Bible. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit, both felt ashamed and guilty (Genesis 3:7) because they realized they were naked. Shame and guilt are two of the initial evidences of sin. Why? Because we have violated our consciences and deserve punishment. So the first fallout of sin is shame and guilt. Those who have no shame or guilt have developed a seared, callous conscience (Ephesians 4:19, 1 Timothy 4:2).
The second fallout of sin is fear and hiding. We are afraid and so we want to hide what we’ve done wrong. We don’t want anyone to know we’ve done something bad. Adam and Eve became afraid and hid from an omniscient God (how do you do that?) among the trees of the garden. We are afraid of losing our reputations as a “good guy or girl” and so we commonly try to hide our transgressions by lying. We do so because our pride or our fear of punishment won’t let us own it.
The third fallout of sin is blame-casting. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve and God. Blame says it’s someone else’s fault. Someone else is responsible for this sin . . . not me. Some cannot even bring themselves to call sin, sin. They choose instead to say they made “a mistake, an error, a lapse in judgment.” Blaming another for our sin allows us to avoid owning what we’ve done.
The final fallout of sin is separation. Sin separates us from one another and, most importantly, from God. Adam and Eve were summarily expelled from Paradise, the most perfect environment on the planet. They were separated from the God who loves them. When we sin, we are immediately separated from God. Our sin also separates us from other people. Unrepentant sin is a relationship killer!
What’s the solution to the fallout of sin? Open, honest, truthful, immediate confession to God and those violated. If private, private confession. If public, public confession. There is no other solution. The Bible affirms this truth when it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). My experience is that when someone has sinned publicly, repents and confesses that sin, and owns it publicly, people are merciful and gracious and will forgive that person. What is more difficult to forgive is lying, hiding, blaming, and denying sin.
Let’s be committed to walking in the light!