When my kids were little, one of our favorite games to play with was hide and seek. I was a champion. They never found me unless I wanted to be found. Our games would go on forever with them searching and searching in vain to find me. It was great.
I think hide and seek is such a popular game to play because we never really stop playing it.
We grow up and go from physically hiding, to hiding our situations. It’s not just a Christian thing, either, although I think Christians are the best at it. Somewhere along the way, we decided that to be considered successful at the Christian faith, we had to be perfect. Where did we get this notion? Who started that rumor? And where in the scriptures could they have possibly found to back up such an insane premise?
Jesus was pretty clear when he said it was the sick that needed a doctor. And it was later, Paul, who labeled himself the chief of all sinners. (1 Tim 1:15) The Bible is simply overflowing with people who couldn’t keep their acts together. Why did God not choose to have the Bible full of perfect examples? Because he couldn’t find any. Only Jesus, God himself, could be held to such a standard.
Eve ate the apple, gave some to Adam, and she and Adam hid from God; this, perhaps being the first ever hide and seek game on the face of the earth. They messed up, and instead of instantly coming clean from their sin, they tried to hide it. It is the way of sin. And it is the way of the enemy. Satan’s hide and seek games always include shame. It is shame that drives the game and keeps it going for so long. Why? Because hidden sin can be nurtured, and hidden sin when nurtured, can grow.
It is a sad truth, that many Christian churches are not ready to handle the hidden sins in the lives of their people. It is also true that for most, fear of alienation and judgment from their churches keep sin among church goers hidden. But again, it was Jesus who said it is the sick that need a doctor. (Mark 2:17)
The body of Christ should be the place that struggling people can run for help. Sadly, it is the place where many go and expend major amounts of energy trying to appear holy when in reality their lives are anything but holy. I have been a part of those kinds of churches. I can remember what those were like. They were miserable. All that pretending. All that insincerity.
What if a place could be found where you didn’t have to pretend? What if, at the outset of an issue in life, you could just go and be open and get help on the front end? What if a gambling addict could lay his issue out on the table the first time he lost control instead of waiting until his life has fallen apart and it is no longer possible to hide his dire situation? Or a porn addict, abuser, gossiper, alcoholic, thief or whatever?
What might be the result if we were able to shine the light of truth on sin at it outset? While it is still an infant, before it has a chance to grow and take on a life of it’s own? Before it has a chance to ruin a family or a life? The only way to ever get free from sin is to show it the light of truth. So what are we afraid of? Why do we want people to keep their secrets?
It is because of our own sin nature. It is because of our own potential to do the same or worse, that we are content with hidden sin in others. Showing the light of truth on hidden sin forces us all to deal with the sin potential or reality in our own lives. It reduces us to the level of the afflicted. We just don’t want to live in that reality. We are the great pretenders. But we have to get to the place where Adam and Eve arrived. We have to realize that sin puts us on the outside of the garden looking into a paradise we cannot get to any longer.
Sin separates us all from the life God has planned for us. As the body of Christ, we have to be willing to allow believers a safe place to shine the light of truth on the sin in their lives. We all need that place. I can tell you, it feels good to be a part of a body of believers who provides that. It’s what allows us to go into prisons and offer the love of Jesus to inmates, not as a mission, but in recognizing their value and welcoming them in as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s what has led to hundreds of people finding freedom from their past and stepping into their futures living apart from the sin that bound them.
The Body of Christ should be a place of freedom, not of secrets. The broken, afflicted, addicted, and burdened should run to us. We know the answer, we have the key to their freedom. They need to know that the past can be over forever, and that God is doing a new thing. He wants to do a new thing in them. He is the only one who can. Christians, more than anyone else should know that.
“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19