Covid-19 Devotionals

How Private Sin Becomes Public

I decided to take a new walking route today, because on it I will see new areas, businesses and get new ideas for my daily notes. However, I started off going the exact same way. Today, I left later than normal and about 150 meters from our gate, water and small polystyrene balls were flowing out of a premises. The water is normal. This happens every day, five times a week, but today the mess was really bad. Somedays the water smells badly, some days it carries foam and today it carried these little polyester balls. I have tried to contact our municipal office but they only receive emails or text messages for water and electrical complaints. I tried the area ward counselor and the answering machine “instructed” me to send a text or WhatsApp message. We have children riding their bikes and pushing their scooters as well as men riding motorbikes, people walking, running and pushing prams and walking dogs in our street. Then, coupled to the smell, foam and street stains, the mess of the polystyrene balls is unacceptable. Whatever you do in your house and property is your business and is private but as soon as you cast your waste into public areas, it is seen and becomes a problem to others.

Now take your and my sin. What is sin? You have either played darts or heard of the sport. The general rule is that the board is 1.73 meters from the ground to the bull’s eye and the distance from the board to your toe is 2.37 meters. The object of the game is that the first player that reaches 301 (or 501) points is the winner. To start the game you need a double and to conclude the game you need a double. You have three darts, and every time you don’t hit a double to start you miss the mark. Sin has been described as missing the mark, but it’s not a game! Sin misses the ‘mark God has set for us people’. He has a standard for you and me. Basically, this is described in the Ten Commandments, yet they are expanded throughout the Books of Moses into literally hundreds of Commandments. In short, sin is doing anything that is listed or implied in the Bible as sin. These are the things that offend God irrespective of how “big or small” they are. All sin draws wrath!

Most of our sins are internal. By “internal sins”, I’m referring to our emotions such as lust, desire, anger, bitterness, jealousy, pride, covetousness, selfishness, sins of fantasy and imagination, vanity and an endless list of other sins! These are within the heart.

Then there are sins which are executed in private. These sins could be performed by yourself with no one else seeing. Being in private with no one seeing, your guilt might be less than when others see your sin. Now, irrespective of how much these sins are done in private … God sees … for He sees everything, everywhere, all the time!

There are sins within the home. By this, I mean those things seen by those within your household, but are private to the world out there. It could be abuse, drunkenness, sexual offenses, rage and anger or laziness. It could be the treatment of those within the house or it could be your personal behaviour.

There are public sins! These are the things done in front of other people. It could be one person or many who see. That is public sin … it even includes the electronic media … such as sending a derogatory message to one person who might forward it on to others.

Think back to the smell, foam, street stains and the small polystyrene balls in the street. The culprits distribute their mess amongst many people in the street. This is like the effects of sin. It starts internally, passes through the private gate into the home and then into the public arena. Now, where does sin in us come from? Jesus says:

Matt 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

These sins are not a comprehensive list! The senses feed the heart … the senses of taste, sight, hearing, feeling and smell feed the mind that feeds the heart. Now, once the heart erupts, sin becomes public, and once this happens you dump your sinfulness on others. Your sin affects others.

One of the most difficult and humiliating experiences is being caught out sinning, whether it’s in the family, place of employment, school, amongst neighbours or generally in public. Even when you confess and plead for forgiveness and are forgiven, your sin still makes you feel awful and you struggle with guilt. There are two things to know and work on.

The first is:

Pr 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

All our behaviour is seen by God. He sees His children’s sins and He sees the sin of those who don’t belong to Him. In other words, He knows us perfectly. He knows the internal sins, the private sins, the family and the public sins.

The second is:

Pr 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

If sin arises out of the heart and if God is aware of all this sin, then we need to guard the heart … protect the heart … prevent sin being worked in the mind and transferred to the heart!

Dear God, mercifully pardon my sin. Please help me to protect my heart. Grant me a desire to live a holy life that impacts others for good and exposes Jesus in me. Enable me to glorify You in everything. Amen.

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