Psalms 51:6 says “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
This stuff about truth in the inward being scares me. Can’t I just go on thinking nice things about myself and leave it at that? Nope.
I’m a real emotional person. Not touchy-feely mind you, just emotional. I don’t mind crying in public. Who cares? But I am also very good at not being real honest with myself. I’m pretty sure I took what was once just a sinful trait in this regard, and cultivated it to an art form in the aftermath of my wife leaving in 1992. And I have lived very dishonestly with myself since then. Maybe you do too.
Here’s the deal. When my wife left, I went into what I’ve come to call “survival mode”. I’m sure others use the term too. Basically, I hurt like death on a spit – but knew I had to keep going for my daughter’s sake as well as my own. The problem was then, that I got so used to ignoring the pain and just keeping up everyday life (because you can’t just break down, you can’t afford to) that I got to the place where I just ignored the fact that it hurt at all.
Now, its 13 years later. Now, I must keep up a front because if people know how much I hurt, it might weaken their confidence (maybe even their faith – how’s THAT for egotism?) and so I had better make sure everyone thinks I’m OK all the time. I believe the Bible would call this, hummm, now what’s the word I’m looking for….unh, unh, Okay – yeah! That’s it – SIN! Sin because God delights in truth in the inward being, and I prefer to hide from the truth about me. Especially to myself. Because then I have to actually LIVE in real time, every day dependence upon Him, admitting my weaknesses to others and not living like God fixed me completely at conversion, and I’ve had no real sanctifying work to do since then other than in visible, acceptable, nuisance sins. Wrong.
So, my daughter’s getting married next month. I’m thrown back into a public encounter with the ex-wife who walked out, and I have a godly wife now who won’t let me get away with hiding any more. What’s a man to do?
Get honest with my sinful responses to wrongs actually done to me, and/or perceived wrongs. Get honest with God about how I’ve bottled that stuff up and wouldn’t face the ugly truth about myself – even before Him. Get honest with the fact that I’ve tried to live like it doesn’t hurt – when all the time Christ is expecting me to come to Him IN my weakness, not pretending like I don’t have any – and confessing my sinful responses and looking for the comfort He gives and the forgiveness I need – because I am so dishonest.
I think a lot of men are like me. No, I’m not trying to say we need to be more like women or to feminaize ourselves. That’s wrong. I am saying that when we’re sinfully angry, we need to act righteously outwardly, AND go to God with our sinful anger and confess it. We need to live willingly broken before Him. If we finally shake off the pretense in front of Him, we can live in a much easier way with those around us.
Don’t like to admit you are tempted sexually to God? Go ahead, just fight it (read: ignore it) to yourself and God, and become the victim of it. Don’t like to admit to God you’re petty, ticked off at stupid stuff, feel disrespected, get your feelings hurt easily, do foolish stuff, have hateful, hurtful thoughts, are depressed, feel inadequate all the time, get fearful, hurt and want to die? Then any and all of these can be yours for the low low price of male egotisitical dishonesty with yourself and God. What a prize! The only time we are REALLY babies, is when we try so hard to pretend we’re not.
Guess what. When you got saved, that didn’t end your need for a Redeemer. The process has just begun. And you have a lot more sinful stuff down inside than you ever dreamed. Deep, dark, vile, creepy, filthy, bottomless pits of sin. Sinful thoughts, actions, desires and responses. And most of the time you do your best not to think about it. Because you think: “If this is how I really am, can I even BE a Christian?” Yep. And there is still only one answer for sin – Jesus Christ. But you don’t get saved, and that end up being like a fresh start you spend the rest of your life fearing you’ve blown – but are afraid to admit. You blew it ten nanoseconds after you were saved. Maybe SOONER. We ALWAYS need saved. We are BEING saved all the time. Yes, we are declared just – righteous with the imputed righteousness of Christ – but were are BEING sanctified by the continual work of the Holy Spirit. And He’s not half as scared of our sin as we are. “You fixed me, now let me go” is the way we want to live. “I justified you, now let me do the rest of the overhaul” is how He wants us to live. And that progresses at precisely the same rate as our honesty with the truth about ourselves increases.
Keep thinking you just need tweaked here and there – and you’ll live your whole Christian life in the lie, and never find release. Keep fleeing to Him every moment with brutal honestly about the rank and grotesque nature of your ongoing sinful thought life and responses, and find out what true liberty is.
You want to know a secret? He knows it already. Yep. And at that, even in more gross blackness than you’ll ever hope to know. And you are STILL accepted in the Beloved.
I know. You keep thinking to yourself, “but I don’t want to live like I need Him for every little thing – I want to show Him that He saved me and now I can walk on my own two feet”. Liar. You’re lying to yourself and Him. No wonder your wife tells you that she feels distant from you. You’re not honest with God or yourself, and she knows deep down you aren’t honest with her then. You’re trying to keep up appearances for everybody – most of all you. “I’m not hurt, I’m not angry, I’m not nursing a grudge, I’m not tempted, I’m not faithless, I’m not prayerless, I’m not sproradic in my passion for Christ, I’m not depressed, I’m not confused, I’m not…” Liar. And you won’t get God’s help, until you admit the truth to yourself.
Feel like if you do that, you’ll walk around all the time doing nothing but bemoaning your sin? Well, if you don’t bring it all to Christ and believe His work of your behalf – yes, that’s exactly what you’ll do. But if you get off your stupid ego trip and live like you know He already knows – so you may as well admit it all and find out that He died for all of it – THEN there’s hope and peace and freedom. Until then, you’ll just live in the dark. Good days and bad days – but never free days. Days when you think about it less, but never actual deliverance.
God delights in truth in the inward being. He delights in us being 100% honest with ourselves. No matter how we think that must look to Him. Naked. Ugly. Sinful. Because until we are honest with us – we are not honest with Him. And there’s no help to be had.
Where do we get that? He teaches us this wisdom. Alone with Him, with no holds barred. We confess our sin. Really confess. None of this prettied up nancy-boy confessing where we tell God what we think He wants to hear – but brutal, honest, manly, masculine truth. “You want confession? I’ll give you confession, what do you think of THOSE sins?!!!!!” That’s the ticket. Because sin of any kind only has one remedy – the Cross of Jesus Christ. So if I do not bring it to Him, I cannot have it dealt with.
I am a petty, jealous, lustful, lying cheat of a murderous man hater who wants the world to love me and think well of me all the time. And that’s my GOOD side. You should see the hard core sin. I’m an idiot! Thank God He has given us His Son to redeem us from our sins.
Last thought. The more you hide your sins – the more you devalue the Cross, and tell Jesus He really didn’t need to do all that much for you. No, I’m not saying sin more – or pretend you’ve sinned more so that it LOOKS like He’s a greater Savior than He is. You don’t have to make anything up. There is no perverse form of needing to manufacture sins so that God can seem greater in the forgiving of them. You have plenty already. You’re just not being honest with yourself. You’re thinking that if you don’t admit you have them, if you don’t say it out loud, even to yourself – you can pretend like you don’t have them. You do. And so do I. And that’s why we need Christ. And we never get over needing Him, in even the least amount.