If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
Our pastor spoke on the subject of the 10th commandment in his message last Sunday. This commandment deals with the secret sin of “coveting”. And while it sounds like nothing in light of the other big ones on the list – it is the one in which we can hide, push aside and even deny – making it the most dangerous one of all.
What exactly is coveting? And why is it so dangerous? Coveting in it’s most basic form is this: wanting something I don’t have. And in this last commandment that God gave to His people – He spelled it out for them – telling them not to want things that belong to their neighbor, their house, their wife or anything else that belongs to them. Sounds simple right? But it is not that simple.
Coveting goes beyond the above commandment. It deals with the heart. It is all about the secret desires and motives – known only by God.
Scripture has much to say about the heart. We’re told to “guard it” and that it is the “well-spring of life”. And we truly believe it. Until…there is something that we just can’t shake – a past relationship that won’t let us go – or a memory of better days – seeing someone or something that we would like to have for ourselves. And we thing – “who are we hurting – no one knows”. But God does.
Our pastor said that we can appear like we have it all together on the outside – we don’t murder, steal, commit adultery – you know the “BIG ONES” on the list. We come to church and seem to have it all together. In fact we’re so good that people are actually envious of us! But this in itself can be a trap. Sometimes those that look the part – are actually struggling with the most secret sin of their own.
But on the flip side of that – we can become “self-righteous” and “judgmental” when we are not as bad as all those other “sinners” out there. Holding on to our private “secrets” but looking great on the outside. It was those people who Jesus had to deal with most in His short 3 years on earth. The ones that pointed their fingers at others – deflecting blame off of themselves – and the ones who did not acknowledge that they had a problem to begin with – and were just as guilty as the murderers, thieves and adulterers. Jesus confronted this issue – knowing they all were good Jews and knew the commandments well – got right to the heart of the matter and said,
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
I imagine that this kind of radical thinking caused quite a stir. After all – good Jewish men kept all the commandment to the letter of the law. This one was uncomfortable and made them squirm. Why? Because their heart was wicked and far from repentance – far from God.
We are no different. Sin is still sin. Done out in the open – or in the secret places of our heart. When we sin in a secret way – we are saying that we don’t need a Savior – that we can handle it on our own merit – that because everyone thinks we are good, pure, honest and without sin – that will be enough for God. It isn’t. He still knows. Whether it’s an addiction problem, a lust problem or an unrepentant heart – it’s all the same to God. Pride and stubbornness are the worst ones – because they tell us a lie – that we are alright without a Savior.
At the heart of our secret sin issue – is Jesus. He patiently waits for us to come to Him and to confess it. He comes to not just forgive us when we blow it – but to fix us permanently and heal our disease. He heals us from the inside out – taking away the sin and any desire or residue that it leaves. The sin that will ultimately lead to our destruction – little by little, bit by bit.
How many good moral people are out there? That sit in our churches? That have un-confessed sin in their lives? That are so good in fact – they have no need for a Savior? Don’t be one of those – He is waiting for you today. When Jesus touches your life – you won’t be the same – the change will be permanent – done from the inside out. Something that good moral living alone cannot achieve. We all have a sin problem – that is why He came. To do a work that we ourselves cannot do. Conquer sin in our lives for good – and change us, healing our disease of self-righteousness and pride.
When you get right down to the heart of the matter – Jesus came to save us from ourselves – our sinful tendencies and gave us a better way to live – healing us from the inside out.
Do you have secret sin hiding deep down in your heart that you believe is well hidden – even from God? When you admit it to Him – He will not condemn you – but forgive you and heal you – giving you a new purpose and a new way to live. That’s a promise.