It was a scary attack. The dog lunged at her and began ripping at her body, leaving her a bloody mess and in a very bad condition. They rushed her to the hospital to treat the dog bites. While being treated for the wounds from those vicious bites, they made a horrible discovery. She had cancer. It was serious but still early enough to treat, and hopefully to save her life. What was more cosmetic than fatal, revealed something that was more fatal than cosmetic. They needed to treat her immediately, for the cancer, or her life was in imminent danger.
Did she yell at the doctors for not minding their own business? Did she leave the hospital with anger, for them telling her more bad news? Did she feel that they were picking at her, and just looking for fault? Or, did she consider herself fortunate, that the attack of the dogs, had probably saved her life? She did not instruct the doctors, to look no further, because she did not want them to find more cancer. She wanted them to search her, and see if there was some secret cancer in her, that she could not see. They found all of the cancer, and began treatments. Her life was spared, because they had opened her up, and found the cancer in time. It is obvious that the deepest and most dangerous disease, was hidden beneath the surface, and could have easily been left undiscovered until it was too late.
The same can be said of the matter of our lives. In the matter of true restoration, the element most often missing from full and total recovery, is one’s willingness to be transparent. This may be one of the most difficult things to accomplish, simply because behind every fall, there is typically much secrecy. In fact, secrecy and sin are typically attached at the hip. That which has been revealed to others, typically brings shame, but with it also, is a fear of full disclosure. The sins that most disgust man are usually seen, but the ones that destroy our relationship with God, are usually hidden below the surface and cannot be easily detected.
In this chapter, I want to deal with this important matter of transparency. David said in his prayer to God, of Psalm 139, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. David did not ask God to see if there be any wicked sin, but he said wicked way. What is a way? It is a tendency, a trend, a direction or a leaning. In other words, David wanted God to point out, if he was even leaning in the wrong direction. But how could God accomplish this? David said, “know my thoughts.” Now lets be honest. This is where most of us really would not want others to know us. Our thoughts are where most of our sins dwell or begin.
It is the secret thoughts that cause us to lean towards sin. Our leanings determine our direction and our direction determines our actions. But, it all begins with our thoughts. Most of us have thoughts of things we would never consider doing, yet the thought itself was a consideration. That is why, that even the thought of a sin, is as dangerous as the commission of the sin. Because, when you think you lean, and when you lean long enough, you will eventually move in that direction.
Every known fault, usually carries with it, many other lesser obvious ones, that often are the cause of the more obvious ones. We see the volcano, but God sees the fault line in our lives. The eruption came long after the fault began. Thus, it is the faults that should concern us, when we are being restored. Sin is often an act, where a fault is always a trend, that leads to self destructive acts. Murder is a sin. Temper is a fault. Adultery is a sin. Flirting is a fault. So, only when we recognize that transparency reveals the faults, that can prevent the eruption, can we really know we are being restored.
Often the ugliest evidences of sin, are not the most deadly ones. The cancers of sin that will destroy us, are often hidden below the surfaces and spreading, without anyone’s notice. Opening ourselves up for inspection, allows the cleansing before there is destruction.
1. Restoration is not an event, but a process. Too many of us want the McDonald’s version of restoration. We want to go through the drive through line of God’s Mercy, and order up a Happy Meal of restoration, super sized with an order of feel good, on the side. That is not how Gods restoration process works. It is often painful, and trying. God does not just, “fix” things. He restores us to Him. That is why He saves us, and sanctifies us. Do not expect to be zapped with restoration, but to be transfigured with time. THE sin which was manifested, may be stitched up like a dog bite, but the cancers inside, will take time to be treated. Too many of us want the stitches of restoration, without the surgery of transformation.
2. We cannot be fully right with God, with sin, which has not been confessed, or in other words, with secrets. But wait, can a Christian have secrets from a God Who knows everything? Yes. It is a secret, when we do not admit to Him what He already knows. A secret can be known, by the one from which we are hiding it.
When I was a child, I did something that I knew would displease my dad. I broke something that was his. I attempted to hide it from him, yet he already knew that it was broken and he knew I had done it. I avoided him with my secret, that he already knew. We lost fellowship because of the secret I was hiding from him. He waited for me to come to him. It was a secret, but it was not hidden. The secret was with me, and until I confessed, the fellowship would remain strained. I avoided him, because of my secret, but he waited for me to come to him, knowing the secret already.
Finally, I came to him to confess what I had done. When I did so, he told me that it was not the item that was broken, that was the main issue. It was that I had been where I should not have been, and that I was doing what I was not allowed to do. In others words, it was not the “secret” that was the issue. I only knew what I had broken, but he knew that which I did not know. Now, the process of restoration began. My confession led to the revelation of what I did not know, so I then had to confess to being where I should not have been, and doing what I should not have been doing. I had confessed to what I had broken, but he revealed to me more.
Now, the beauty of confession came into perfect fulfillment. He fixed that which was broken. He cleansed me of the error of my ways, and removed the guilt. Then, he was able to restore me to full fellowship with him. Remember, it all began with confession, not confrontation. We spend too much time dealing with the symptoms of sin, through confrontation, rather than letting God convict, and leading someone to confession. The father did not confront the prodigal son. He waited for him. When the prodigal returned in conviction, he confessed, and the process of restoration began. Look at what he said to his father.; “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” There was the confession, and then begins the restoration of the relationship. Everything the father did, was some indication of the relationship he longed for, with the son.
You internet cops, are not doing the work of God. You are elder brothers, hindering in the true work of God, and you will be exposed by God, for what you are. God does not need FBI Christians, He needs spiritual people, who recognize that He wants us back in fellowship with Him. It should not be about us. It should be about Him, and the father in the story shows God’s real heart, when he says to the elder brother, “ It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
3. We are not promised to be cleansed, from that which we have not confessed. As a child, I remember a statement I made every night, in my bedtime prayers. I always prayed, “forgive me of all my sins.” That may sound cute in the prayer of a child. but it is not sufficient, to one who wants to be in a pure relationship, with the Father. It is not about forgiveness, it is about cleansing. God wants to cleanse us from the evil within not just the sin without. He cannot cleans us fully until He reveals to us of the faults, in our lives so that we can then, confess them to Him.
4. We cannot confess sins, about which we are not aware. Do we really know what sins exist, within our deceitful hearts? So, if we cannot know what is there, we cannot confess it. We think of sin in a few overt actions, when in reality our righteousness is, as filthy rags before Him. Only in the light of His holiness, can we fully know the impurities that dwell within us. Why is it that to many of us who have fallen, the purest people we know, see themselves less pure than do we? It is because they have allowed God, to reveal the iniquities within. We see no outward failing, because they are allowing God to keep them pure within.
5. We cannot know, that which we do not know, unless God reveals it to us . Can we really examine our lives, and see the sinfulness of our hearts? Obviously, we cannot, so we must allow God to look within us, to reveal unto us, what we cannot see. The Psalmist said it perfectly, “ Shall not God search this out? for He knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44;21 If we allow God to search us, He will reveal these things to us, so that we can be cleansed.
6. God will not reveal to us, that which we are not willing to confess. So, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Is it, that we confess, and God reveals, or does God reveal, and then we confess? The answer is yes, both are true. We confess what we know. We then ask God to reveal what we do not know, and then He reveals more. When we confess, God reveals even more, and that process continues. Look at what the Scriptures say, “ If we CONFESS our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession brings a cleansing, from all unrighteousness. What is sin? Sin is the breaking of the law, of God. What is unrighteousness? It is the impurities within, that we cannot see.
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Psalm 32;5
Notice that the Psalmist says here, that he acknowledged his sins, but even more importantly, he did not try to hide his iniquities, or the impurities of his heart. He confessed his transgressions, but God went deeper, and forgave him of the iniquities. There is something very precious here. We see the fact, that relationships are won and lost, at the heart level. The sinful actions between two people start with impurities in the heart. David said, I confess what I did, but I want to be right with You, not from the level of the law but from the heart. God says, I want to forgive you, as more than a judge. I want to restore you as a father would a son. He wanted the relationship to be fixed.
We also see here that little phrase, the iniquity of my sin. How amazing is that phrase? Picture a weed that everyone sees. What you do not see, is the root of that weed. Mow down the weed, and that fixes it right? Wrong. The cutting off of the weed, will simply assure, that the weed will return. Now, it sure seems easier to mow a lawn full of weeds, while sitting on my riding mower, than doing what really needs to be done, which is to dig out each weed by its roots. Sadly, we cannot root out the iniquity, or the weed, until it has been seen by our eyes, but we do not have to wait, because God can reveal to us, where the roots are, before the sins appear. Fortunately, God’s lawn mower goes below the surface, and weeds out those roots for us. He shows us the roots, we confess them, and He digs them out for us. WHAT A GRACIOUS GOD, we have.
7. Once we confess to God, that which He has revealed to us, He forgives us, and cleanses us. Lets compare it to a doctor. When you go to a doctor, you want him to examine you, to see if there is anything wrong inside of you, that you cannot see. We are not asking the doctor to tell us what he finds, so that we can leave, and go treat ourselves. No, we are asking the doctor to tell us what he finds, so we can then, ask the doctor to treat us. What an amazing Physician, we have. We come to him in humble transparency, and we ask Him to see if there is any wicked thing,that He can see, that we cannot. We then confess that fault to Him, and allow Him to treat us, or to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
8. Transparency with others, will help strengthen us. I do not like this one bit. When my wife tells me something, that she feels could hinder me, I want to rebel against it. I want my privacy…no, no, no, what I really want, is my secrecy. But wait. What if it is in the best interest of our relationship with each other, and with God? Then, my confession to her of my faults, allows her to be on guard for me, which helps to protect me. We become protectors, and encouragers of one another, in that which we set out to accomplish, which is a successful marriage relationship. Remember ,secrecy and sin are inseparable. Where there is secrecy, there is sin, and where there is sin, there is secrecy.
Let me give you an example. My wife and I have separate Facebook pages, but I had mine, long before she did. One day, she came to me and asked me about certain things on my page, that concerned her. Because, I had confessed my faults (weaknesses) to her, I knew she was not picking on me, or nagging me, but trying to strengthen me, as well as protect our relationship. So, I made a decision to remove everything she mentioned. In the process, of doing so, I saw other things, that I thought may not be right, so I removed them as well. Submitting to her, made me more sensitive to things, that I would not have noticed before.
I must admit, I love my secrets. Am I the only one? Transparency is not in my nature, but then sin is in my nature, so what should that tell me? My sinful nature despises transparency, but the more I want to have a good relationship with someone, be it God, or my spouse, the more transparent I want to become. It is a desire to be close to someone, that causes us to desire transparency. So, what does this transparency bring into a relationship? Let’s see what the Bible says.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Look at that passage again. Why do we confess our faults to one another? That, we may be…HEALED. That is an amazing truth. When I confess my fault, to one I love, and who loves me, it brings healing. How? Well, when we confess, we are moving towards righteousness, because righteousness can withstand the scrutiny of transparency. God hears our prayers, when we confess, as we see in I John 1:9. In other words, healing with others comes exactly the same way, that it comes with God, except with God, it is one-sided, because He has no faults. In human relationships, it is two sided. What does Jesus do at the right hand of the Father? He intercedes for us. Would that not be akin to prayer? So, we confess to one we love, and then we intercede to the Father, with praye,r and the power of God heals. Heals what? He heals the relationship.
We confess, and then we open up our hearts to one another. It does not say, confess our sins. No, it says faults, because that is far more intimate. Now listen to this. Sins destroy relationships, because of hidden faults. It was the fault that led to the sin, not the sin, that led to the fault. Deal with the sin, and you deal with an action. Deal with the fault, and you deal with the attitude, or the root of the sin. Adultery is a visible sin, with a very deep invisible root system. Dig out the roots, and the sin does not have to appear. How do you deal with it? Confess your faults to God, and to that one with whom you have a relationship. I know, we like those secret thoughts, don’t we?
If a couple’s relationship is destroyed by infidelity, was it really infidelity that destroyed the relationship? I think not. Something far deeper destroyed the relationship, that led to the sin of infidelity. The confession of actions, is not enough to heal that relationship. In fact, too much confession, may actually do more damage. The offended spouse wants facts, to satisfy their anger, which fuels their anger, even more. Instead, in tender humility, the offending spouse confesses their sins, but then opens up and confesses their faults with total transparency. The offended spouse, then confesses their faults, which may be a spirit of anger, or unforgiveness, but confesses it, nevertheless. They pray together, and the process of healing begins. Yes, that is how it happens. Without that, God cannot intervene. Picture it like this.
We love the gorgeous lawn of our marriage. We lay in the rich green grass of companionship, and intimacy, but under the surface, we both know that there are roots, which the other cannot see. Maybe, they are the roots of resentment, jealousy, envy, hurt feelings or anger. Or they may be the roots of lust, wicked thoughts, flirtations or sexual carelessness. That pretty lawn, will eventually, yield the weeds from those roots. One spouse confesses those faults, to the other, and they pray about them. Suddenly, the other spouse sees their roots, and does the same, and the weeds never shoot above the ground. God digs them up, as we confess them, and pray about them.
Tragically, many times we ignore the roots, thinking that our spouse cannot see them. One day, the roots bring forth their horrible weeds, and above the ground, comes the sins that our unconfessed iniquities, have wrought. The weed sends forth its seed, and more roots begin to form, and soon our perfectly manicured marriage, is nothing more than a wasteland of weeds. It appears hopeless. Now, two things must be restored; the individual, and the marriage. Both must be restored, in similar fashion. We must confess to God, as David did, and ask Him to reveal all of our iniquities, so that He can heal, and cleanse us.
Now, comes the marriage. God restored us to fellowship with Him, but the lawn of our marriage, still lies in waste. One day, we sit together, and the spouse notices that the weeds are gone, but suspicion still abounds. What are you hiding, the wonder? Where will trust be restored? Stay with me please, because this is so beautiful. The weeds are gone, but the grass is still not back. In humility, the spouse confesses, not the sins in which they were caught, but the faults that led to the sin. The other spouse, moved by the new found TRANSPARENCY, is convicted of their faults and confesses them. They pray together, as well as when they are apart. Every time they are together, they confess and pray. It is God’s version of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Little blades of grass begin to appear in their lives ,and they wonder, could we once again have that beautiful lawn of marriage? As they continue to confess, and pray, more grass and no weeds, appear before the surface. One day, they are sitting on an even more beautiful lawn than before, because they now are both nurturing it, and are more aware of taking it for granted, than they were before. That lawn once again causes people who pass by, to stop and marvel at the lawn of their marriage. But, those who saw it when it was a ruined mess, give the glory to the restorative grace of God and He receives the praise. When strangers notice the beauty, and long for the same in their lives, that couple shares the wonders of God’s grace, and tells them of what He has done in their lives.
Now, let us deal with the “If” and the “Then” of restoration, within a relationship. God says, if we confess. God says, then He is faithful. Now, here is an interesting question. What is faithfulness to God? It says that His faithfulness has two elements, forgiveness and cleansing. Is His faithfulness, contingent upon our confession? Absolutely NOT. He IS faithful. But, we cannot be in fellowship with that faithfulness, without confession. So, is my faithfulness to my daughters contingent on them? It shouldn’t be. The fellowship is contingent upon their confession, but not my faithfulness. That is evident in the story of the prodigal son. The father was faithful, regardless of the son’s actions, but the relationship was only able to be restored upon confession.
What about in a marriage? If one spouse sins against the other, is the offended one faithful, in spite of the broken relationship? Perhaps, to be in unity with God, we ought to be. God who is sinless, is faithful to a sinner, in a hope of restoring, the relationship, but the spouse who is a sinner refuses to be faithful, with the same hopes. Maybe, there was already unfaithfulness beneath the surface, in that life as well. What we consider to be unfaithfulness, is often defined by an act, but maybe it really is an attitude of the heart. I am not suggesting that you should take him or her back, but just asking you to consider how faithful you really are. I understand that they have not confessed, but are you faithful?
Finally, who did they sin against really? Was it you? Did you create them? Did you send your Son to die on the cross for them. Unforgiveness is akin presumptuousness. When the three friends of Job betrayed him, God put it into perspective, and let them know that He was angry with them, but He also made it clear that they had sinned against Him, God. In other words, God took Jobs side, but it was against Him that they had sinned. He sent them to Job to make an offering, or confession, but look at what God said, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:” What was he saying? Restoration is for more, than the one who committed the offense. It is also for the offended. Job had to be restored as well. Why? Did he sin? Please follow this carefully.
Job wanted to be right with God. It was the offense of others, that led to God revealing the impurities of his heart to him. Job did not fall into a “big” sin because he was transparent to God. He was purified by God, through the actions of others’ sins, not his own. Has someone’s sins brought pain into your life? What are you going to do? Will you, as Job, become transparent, and allow God to purify you, or will you be offended, and allow your bitterness to perhaps lead you into sin.
9. A lack of transparency is often a result of violated trusts from our past. You have heard it said, or perhaps you have said it yourself, “I have a hard time trusting, because of what_____________ (fill in the blank) did to me.” So, our response is, to go into our secret little world, where we hide our iniquities from God and man. Yes, iniquities like bitterness, hurt feelings, resentment, unforgiveness, distrust, etc., fertile ground for Satan to lead us into sin. May I offer one word of encouragement, to those of us dwelling in that pitiful world of self pity. “HE IS FAITHFUL!!!!!!!!!!” So, what else matters? We can hide behind our excuses if we wish, but is that really what we want? Is that secret world, really worth the price of broken relationships? Not for me…not any more. I want to know the wonderful joy of being in perfect harmony, with my wife, my daughters, my family, my brethren, and most of all, my Heavenly Father.
So, who was this transparent David?
● He was overlooked by his father.
● He was scorned by his brothers.
● He was attacked by his mentor and leader, Saul.
● He was forsaken by many of his followers.
● He was betrayed by his son.
Let’s see, overlooked, scorned, attacked, forsaken, betrayed. Do any of those words look familiar? Have they happened to you? Well, they did to David. It made him the great man that he was, but it also led him to commit the great sins that he committed. He had created his own secret world, from where his sins came. So, here he was, with a faithful God, opening up himself, and pleading with God, to examine him thoroughly. Feel his heart, even as you hear his words.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
And what did God call David? A man after His Own heart. What was David’s heart. He had a heart to know God, but in order for that to happen, he knew that he had to open up, and let God know him. David had failed God often, but David had sought to please God, diligently. In order to be fully restored in his relationship with God, he had to enter into transparency.
Now, what about you. I know the world is fixated on the sin, but God is focused on restoring the relationship. Won’t you let Him? Close the noises from without, and open up to His Spirit within. He is still there, only silenced by your fears, and pride, and maybe, even your shame. Are you behind bars? He is there. Are you cast out by those you love? He is there. Wherever you are, remember HIS Words, “ he that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Yes, that means you. No, it does not matter to Him what you did. He is not judging you as others do. He is standing there waiting, at the same place He was, when you left and became the prodigal. He has been there all along, just waiting for you to come and say, “Father I have sinned.” Even there, in your despair, He has a fatted calf for you, along with a robe, a ring and new shoes. He wants you to come home. You can come home.
We used to sing this song. Why don’t you make it your prayer?
Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy word, and make me pure within;
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.
O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival, start the work in me;
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.
Speak to Him in humble confession, not just the sin everyone else knows of. Tell Him all those secret things inside, the thoughts, the desires, the lusts, the anger. I know that man may not release you from the prison, they have put you in, whether it be in a place, or merely in their spirit, but God will free you today. There really is a beautiful place, where far too few have fallen, ever visit. It is a place of sweet peace, and rest. It is a place whose door is open to all, who will open themselves, and be totally transparent. No matter how far you have come, that is the final step to home. (DH)