“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Hidden Sin is Like Mold
As a child, I remember watching my mom cut off moldy pieces of cheese before using it. I never gave it a second thought until later in life when I learned that simply cutting off mold is not enough. The roots of mold spores grow deep beneath the surface and require serious surgery to extract the toxic substance. It turns out that getting rid of mold is not an easy task.
In Leviticus 14:33-48, Moses gave specific instructions to the Israelites on how to deal with mildew or mold in their homes. At the first appearance of mildew, the house was to be shown to the priest. The priest would examine the mildew to see if it was greenish or reddish in color; if it was, then the house was sealed off for seven days. On the seventh day, he would re-examine the house to see if the mildew had spread. If the mildew had spread, the contaminated stones would be cut out and replaced with new stones, new clay, and plaster. If the mildew returned once more, it was considered destructive mildew, and the entire house was demolished.
Mildew and mold are related – both are a type of fungus, but mildew is less invasive. Mildew is typically gray or white in color, lives on the surface of an object, and is easily wiped away. Mold, however, is typically black, green, or a range of other colors and has roots that penetrate deep below the surface.
Mold can grow quickly and without the need for light. It causes numerous health issues and can affect the integrity of a structure. All it needs to grow is moisture, a food source, and the right temperature. It can stay hidden for a long time before the problem is discovered as it grows in areas not easily noticeable.
In Leviticus 14, it appears that the destructive mildew problem was actually mold. Initially, the priest would not have been able to discern if the problem was mildew or mold; time was needed to reveal the true nature of what lurked beneath the surface.
Hidden sin can be a lot like mold.
Hidden Sin Gives Birth to Death
By the time we see sin appear in our lives or in the lives of others, we can be sure its roots have already spread inward and multiplied. Actions are merely a reflection of what lives in the heart. Murder begins in our hearts and minds when we refuse to love our neighbor as ourselves. It may not be detectable in the early stages, but as the spores of sin grow and flourish, it will make itself known.
Sin thrives in a heart that is receptive to lies and easily deceived; it will feed off unforgiveness and selfishness, and with the right encouragement, will flourish into death.
“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14
This is why it is so important to root out the sin in our lives as soon as we are aware of its presence. Proverbs 28:13 tells us, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
Notice there are two calls to action: we must confess our sin and renounce them.
Confess Our Sins
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
It may have been tempting for the Israelite homeowner to ignore the mildew problem in his home. Surely, it was only a little bit and didn’t seem serious. What harm could it do? Alerting the priest meant he and his family must leave their home for a week while it was considered unclean. If the mildew was in fact mold, the house would be destroyed. This was costly and inconvenient.
But the consequences of allowing mold to grow in a home are severe and should not be ignored. Likewise, ignoring our sins, however small, can also lead to unexpected and painful consequences.
Secondly, we are called to renounce our sins. To renounce is to repent. Repentance calls us to change how we think about a matter and walk in the opposite direction. What we once thought was right is now wrong and vice versa. Acts 3:19 calls us to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord….”
Repentance opens our heart to the work of God and allows Him to dig deep into its dark and musty corners bringing light and healing to places held captive by lies and bitterness. In repenting, we find our sins are wiped clean and our spirit is renewed.
Hidden sins have a way of spreading and invading our life when left unattended. If the Holy Spirit is revealing to you an area in your life where you need to confess and repent, don’t delay. Our God is gracious and compassionate. He longs to heal and forgive. But He will not invade your life without permission; He stands at the door and knocks. Will you invite Him in?
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8