For many years, I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. It started before I was a teenager and continued until my last semester of seminary. Since I was a straight-A student and a Christian who attended church faithfully, no one suspected that I was also regularly using narcotics. I woke up one morning and the Holy Spirit impressed on me this thought: “My dad didn’t become an alcoholic and cause so much destruction because he wanted to. It happened just like I’m doing now—a few steps at a time.” That day I flushed my stash of pills, called a friend for help, and never looked back. No withdrawals, no relapses; God miraculously healed me from a decade and a half of substance abuse.
I was very slow to share my sin. I was ashamed and afraid of all that I would lose if people knew the truth about me. Do you know what happened, though? That first friend I called showered me with love and offered a place to stay. And every person after that offered love, support, and encouragement. I expected condemnation, but instead I received mercy. I expected to be shunned, but instead I was welcomed.
To say I did not prosper during all those years I concealed my sin would be an understatement. The weight of hidden sin sucked all the life out of me. But that life rushed back in when I “confesse[d] and renounce[d]” my sin (v. 13). Friend, if you’re living under the weight of hidden sin, come to Jesus. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Come and see that God is good. Come experience His mercy and refreshing, grace and forgiveness.
>> Do you have hidden sin? Follow the words of wisdom that we have studied this month. Confess your sin to God and renounce it today. Then call a friend or your pastor for help.
Holy God, we no longer want to abuse Your love. Forgive us for the sins we are hiding and give us the courage to ask for help. We petition You to prepare our loved ones to receive our confessions with grace. Deliver us from our own evil.