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I did not say you should share your sin broadly; I meant your willingness (or unwillingness) to share the condition of your life and relationships with other people would determine who or what has the most control over you.
If God’s opinion of you has the most control over your life, you have your answer: You are a humble, God-centered, God-glorifying, sin-mortifying, Christlike example that is more concerned with Christ’s reputation than your own. But if you are more concerned with what others think, to the point that you are motivated to hide your sin, you are in more trouble than you could ever imagine.
King David lived in both extremes. After he had committed adultery, he began to cover his tracks. David did this for about a year. Because he was not willing to come clean regarding his sin, the Lord did for him what he was not going to do for himself. Merciful Lord sent Nathan to break his heart and expose his deception. Before Nathan’s visit, David commented on what his life was like when he tried to bury the sin he committed. If this is you, read carefully. Listen to King David.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer (Psalm 32:3-4).
If this passage does not put the fear of God in you, perhaps you are in a near helpless condition. For nearly twelve months, David lied and connived, pretending all was well when it was not. He was trying to ignore what he did, though he could not hide his sin from the one who sees into the darkness of his heart.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).
There is only one way for you to escape from what has captured your heart; it is through the door of humility, confession, honesty, and transparency. You and I can fake out each other, but you cannot deceive the Lord. And even if you could keep the illusion going for a season, there would eventually be a payday someday. The longer you resist the truth, by holding on to lies, the more complicated your life and relationships will become.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).
Paul gives more insight into what David was experiencing when he laid out the degenerating process to the Romans of what happens when a person attempts to press the truth of God out of their lives. He talked about how God’s wrath—His angry displeasure—would rain down from heaven on anyone who lived in ungodly and unrighteous ways.
Paul said this happened when people volitionally chose to press the truth of God from their lives. To suppress the truth is to squeeze it out of your life. It is like pushing down on a balloon filled with water: the water shifts to the right and the left. It distorts what was once healthy.
When you press the truth of God from your life, by holding on to or propagating deception, you will have a distorted soul. You cannot exchange the truth of God for a lie while worshipping the creature more than the Creator, and expect distortion not to happen in some way (Romans 1:25).
David did this though he knew the truth about God. He was a man after the Lord’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14), but he chose a path of sin. The sadness is not so much about the kind of immorality (adultery) that he picked, which is bad enough, but the deception he propagated after he sinned—a process that began to break down his body and soul. How could it be any other way?
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7).
In Hebrews, you learn even more about how ongoing and unrepented sin has a dulling effect on your inner being. Do you see the downward progression of the person who refuses to deal rightly with sin? While the physical debilitation that David went through was horrible enough, it was the dulling of his conscience that may have been the worst of all.
The conscience (Latin: Co-Knowledge) is your inner voice. Your conscience is the moral thermostat that tells you when you are doing what is right or wrong. If your inner voice becomes dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11), you are unhooking yourself from the morality of God, while choosing a path that is wise in your own eyes (Isaiah 5:21). Paul said people like this were not wise, but fools (Romans 1:22).
To be disconnected from God’s morality with no moral compass releases you to be a god of your life (Proverbs 14:12). The worst case of this in the Bible is Lucifer. Though no one will do what he did, there are no known limits as to what a depraved soul can do without God’s restrictions. Sometimes people ask,
Can you believe what (so and so) did?
Almost without exception, I say,
I can believe it. If (so and so) has been living apart from God in a self-absorbed way. I am surprised you are surprised by their actions.
Paul talked about this to his young protegé, Timothy, as he was teaching him about what could happen when deceitfulness and insincerity were in play. He said people who participated in such things would sear their consciences (1 Timothy 4:2).
The seared conscience is equivalent to the cattleman placing an orange-hot iron brand on the cow’s rump, to the point of searing its hide. The seared spot does not have a feeling. Callousness is a dangerous thing when it happens to a person’s conscience.
David was heading that way. He was willfully exchanging the truth of God for a lie, and he was not about to alter his course. Fortunately, there was someone who loved him enough to do for him what he was not going to do for himself.
The Lord nudged Nathan to go to his friend. You know the story. One of the things so amazing about this story is David did not get the point of Nathan’s fictitious monolog (2 Samuel 12:1-6). Nathan was talking, and David was not hearing (Matthew 11:15). He was so blind, so detached, so dull, and so determined to hide his sin that he did not have ears to hear or eyes to see.
Nathan said to David, “You are the man (2 Samuel 12:7).
Nathan stopped beating around the bush with his sheep story and spoke plainly to David. Never underestimate the hardening process of the conscience when a person refuses to own their sin. Do not expect them to see what is right in front of them.
The reason it is as plain as the nose on your face is that you are walking in the light. Light does that to a person. Any person, including Christians, can walk in darkness. John reminded Christians of this truth when he talked about how sin can complicate the Christian’s life.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:7-8).
David was essentially saying, “I have no sin,” and John would respond to him, “You have deceived yourself, and the truth is not in you.” That is why David could not understand what Nathan was trying to accomplish. If you are sitting around waiting for a person—who is willfully pressing the truth of God out of their lives—to come clean, you may not only be sitting around for a long time, but you may be culpable.
You could be enabling them in their sin because you did not speak the truth to them—the Word they could not see. After all, they turned off the light in their souls.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:6
Wounding David is the kindest thing Nathan could do for his friend. Saying hard things reminds me of my favorite quote from my former professor, Wayne Mack. He said when thinking about doing hard things to someone,
You can hate me now and love me later, or you can love me now and hate me later.
I doubt David ever hated Nathan for what he did, but there is no question that Nathan brought pain into David’s life. Nathan loved him so much that he had no choice but to hurt his friend. If you logically follow the downward progression David presented in Psalm 32:3-4, there seems to be little question that David was deteriorating physically and spiritually by the day.
David’s confession in that Psalm reads like he would not have lived much longer. Things went wrong quickly for David. It was God’s mercy imposing itself in David’s life by sending someone to wound him. He was impulsive to react to Nathan’s sheep story, but when he found out he was the main character of the story, he shut his mouth (Job 40:4-5). Without interruption, he let his friend speak.
The fantastic news is once his eyes were open, the spirit quickened, and he knew immediately what he did and how he needed to respond. When Nathan finished, David said the only thing that needed to be said,
I have sinned against the LORD (2 Samuel 12:13).
Six words summed it up. There was nothing else to say because nothing else mattered at that moment. David indeed sinned against more people than the Lord, but at that moment, there was only one thing that mattered. This conclusion brings us around to my opening statement:
Are you more concerned about what God thinks about your sin or what others may think about your sin? Your thoughts about this crucial question will determine the quality of your life. The way you can know the answer to what controls your heart is by measuring your willingness (or unwillingness) to share your faults, failures, and sins with the appropriate people.
After David had sinned, he plotted a deceptive plan to cover up his actions. He hurt many people in the process. The only thing that mattered was for others to not know what he did. It was a bold move for someone who was after the Lord’s heart. How could someone be so connected to God and be so self-deceived?
David’s life is a call for you to do reflective self-examination. If someone who loved God so much could fall so far, how much more possible is it for you or me to detach our hearts from the truth we know? While his adultery was horrendous and his deception was causing physical and spiritual suicide, the fantastic thing about this story is his restoration.
Like the prodigal son, the only thing that mattered to him was restoration (Luke 15:17-22). You will be able to discern a person’s sincerity by the radicalness of their repentance. The prodigal son threw in the white towel and gave up all control of his life to his father. David did similarly.
I am not suggesting you broadcast your sin to the world, but I am suggesting you be willing to do anything it takes to restore what sin destroyed. In David’s case, you see how he walked out his repentance: He broadcasted it to the world. (Read Psalm 32:1-11 and Psalm 51:1-19)
The most effective way for you to test the genuineness of your repentance is by giving up control of the situation to those you trust and have proven themselves faithful to the practical applications of God’s Word in your life.
If your so-called repentance is more about controlling the outcomes, you are not in a “repenting frame of mind.” But if you are willing to give up control of your life and your situation by humbly submitting to those who can help you, then expect God’s amazing favor in your life (James 4:6).
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).