March 3, 2013
The Danger of Undiscovered Sin
“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults”
There is no human being who does not need help in seeing his or her own sins accurately. The extent to which we seek this help is one of the truest indicators of our desire to seek God.
When it comes to errors we need to correct, we can hardly trust our own hearts to tell us all we need to know. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Very deep within our hearts lie two desires. One is for other people to think about us as we wish them to think, and the other is to think about ourselves as we wish to think. The joker who said that “life is one long struggle to think well of ourselves” was not just being cynical. Anytime the objective evidence would require seeing ourselves in some way other than the way we wish to see ourselves, we all have a tendency to shade the evidence and skew the perspective. We spare no effort in trying to find some way to look at the situation in a way that reflects on ourselves in the most “understanding” way. Some people do have more self‑honesty than others, but there is no person on earth who is completely honest with himself or herself. We tend to deceive ourselves about ourselves. We all have “secret faults” that are “hidden” from our own sight.
Even when we try to understand ourselves, we find that it's difficult to do so. We simply don't understand ourselves well enough to diagnose our own ailments. The only safe course is to seek God's help. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote pointedly, “We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God.” The danger of undiscovered sin is so great that only a fool would rely on do‑it‑yourself schemes. Solomon warned that “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). It takes humility as well as honesty to face the fact that God is the only perfect “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves!