A conglomeration of things have recently strung together in my mind that have led me to compose this blog post.
First, some sweet friends of mine, knowing how much I love the Harry Potter series of books, recently gave my newborn and older two kiddos some Harry Potter themed t-shirts (which I LOVE!). My son’s t-shirt says “Straight Outta Hogwarts”, my oldest daughter’s shirt says,”Never hide your crazy”, and the baby’s onesie says “Snuggle this muggle,” (precious, right?)
For those of you Potterheads that are savvy in Potter jargon, I’m sure you share in my love of these shirts. For all you unfortunately “normal” people who don’t know anything about Hogwarts or Muggles, you’re probably shaking your head and saying “Huh?” right about now.
And that’s okay. This isn’t a post about Harry Potter. It’s about Christians, and why we should stop hiding our “crazy”.
So the aforementioned t-shirt set the ground work for this discussion, but the catalyst really presented itself this morning while I was listening to the newest segment of “Wifey Wednesdays” with Emily Hatfield and her guest, Brooke McNutt, on the Light Network podcast (shout out to these girls for the fantastic work they do, motivating young mothers and other Christian women in general. Thanks, guys!)
But anyway, they have recently attended Polishing the Pulpit and were discussing some of their favorite lessons and things they heard while there. One thing they talked about was how Christians have to stop lying to themselves about sin. The reason we sin is because we enjoy that sin, even if only momentarily. Check out the book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, verse 25. The Hebrews writer commends Moses for “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” The devil wouldn’t have very effective tactics if sin didn’t bring us some sort of pleasure, would he?
Yes, we all regret it and feel guilt afterward (unless you’ve become calloused and no longer feel guilt, which is another blog altogether), but the reason we sin is because it feels good.
They went on to say that the speaker discussed the not-so-intelligent thinking some Christians have. Actually, she just called us out and said it is stupid to think we are hiding anything from God. And she’s exactly right!
1 John 3:20 says, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.”
Psalm 44:21 says, “Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
Clearly, we only fool ourselves if we think we are hiding anything from Him. It’s crazy to think we are getting away with sin just because our surrounding mortals are unaware of said sins.
So what do I mean when I say we shouldn’t hide our crazy (i.e., our sins) now that we’ve established that we can’t hide them, even when we want to?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that we should parade around and be proud of our sins. Sin brings shame and reproach (Proverbs 14:34) and is “of the devil” (1 John 3:8)- not something to brag about by any means.
What I am asserting is a way out- a way to help us overcome the desire to sin so that we can stop doing it. Rather than hide our sins from others in the comfort of our own homes and hearts, let’s confess them, one to another, with the hope that it will make us uncomfortable enough to turn away from them.
Novel idea? Nope.
James 5:16 has been around for quite a while, and it says “Confess your faults, one to another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
A few things to notice about this verse. I love that it says, “that ye may be healed.” Being a nurse practitioner, I can make practical application to this. Sin causes damage. Sometimes physical. Sometimes emotional. Always spiritual. But sometimes, all of the above. There is healing power in confessing our sins one to another. This means that we can confess them to another with the intention of turning away from that sin so that it can cause no further damage.
Secondly, it says we have to be specific about to whom we confess our faults. It says fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Someone righteous. How does the Bible define righteous? Deuteronomy 6:25 says, “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”
Did ya catch that?
A righteous person is someone who keeps God’s commandments, as he has commanded us.
This would be a faithful Christian. Someone who has kept God’s commands: only someone who is righteous, can help us through prayer. It won’t do us any good to confess our faults to someone who doesn’t see them as a problem, or worse, takes part in those sins with you.
Find someone you can trust that won’t air your dirty laundry, so to speak. The point isn’t to tell everyone, it’s to tell someone. (If your sin is public, however, you need to ask forgiveness of everyone affected by it, so sometimes we need to go to more than one person, or even before an entire congregation, if necessary.) Take this seriously enough that you find someone to hold you accountable to your word. Don’t tell someone that doesn’t love you enough to tell you (lovingly) when you need to get your act together.
We’ve all heard it. “The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem.” And, boy, do we have problems! Gossip, lust, laziness, pride, envy, the list goes on and on. So go on, now. Find yourself a fellow Christian who’s willing to do what it takes to help you get to heaven and let them know what you need help with.
Admit that you have a problem, no matter how big or small, and then work hard to overcome it.
DISCLAIMER: Of course, all of the above is irrelevant to you if you’ve never made the decision to become a Christian to begin with. As I mentioned before, in order to be righteous, we have to obey all of God’s commands. We cannot obtain forgiveness without putting on Christ in baptism. (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38). For a further study on how to become a Christian, or even to make sure you are a Christian by God’s standards (which I HIGHLY recommend) see this article: 13 Objections to Baptism