Held hostage by sin

November 28, 2017
PSALM 51:3 - For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

David succinctly describes in Psalm 51 the prison of every secret sinner: “My sin is ever before me.” As long as sin is secret and unconfessed, it can hold us hostage. Even children know this. Susie and Johnny were two city kids who loved to visit their grandparents’ farm. On one extended visit, Grandpa made Johnny a slingshot. Johnny shot at everything he could see, but he never hit much until he hit his grandmother’s pet duck as it strutted through the yard. One shot to the neck—bam!--and it was, in fact, a dead duck. Susie saw the whole thing, and decided quickly that she could use her brother’s misfortune to her advantage. “Johnny,” she said, “if you’ll do my chores this weekend, I won’t tell Grandma how you killed her duck. Otherwise, I’m telling right now.”

So all weekend long, Susie played and Johnny worked. She rode horses. He washed dishes. She fished. He swept the porch. All Susie had to say when Johnny got tired was “Remember the...” Johnny remembered. Finally, he’d had all he could take. He went to his grandmother in tears and told all. “I didn’t mean to, Grandma, but I shot your duck and killed it. Then I buried it off in the woods and did all the chores so Susie wouldn’t tell.” His grandmother took him in her arms and said, “You know Johnny, I was watching out the window when you hit the duck. I was just wondering how long you’d do all your work and Susie’s, too, before you decided to tell me.”

Isn’t that the way we operate? We try to hide our sin until the hiding becomes unbearable, then we resort to the truth. But until we confess, we’re hostages.