Secret Sin: How to Understand and Avoid It
One of the most tricky and insidious forms of disobedience is Secret Sin. Secret sin “happens” because of all kinds of reasons, but they seem to be rooted in either raging against living in a fish bowl of maintaining a life of perfection OR the simple desire for living with unaccountable personal autonomy (to do whatever we want) without suffering the ramifications of our decisions.
Most of the time secret sin tempts us because we feel as if we’re living in a fishbowl– a life where we live with ‘glass houses’ and everybody knows our business and scrutinizes our lives to the nth degree. That can be too much to take, especially when we live for people’s approval instead of seeking the authenticity of living for the Lord and Him alone.
Let’s face it, certain types of behaviors are not tolerated in society– nor by conscience. So people learn to cover their tracks by being crafty. This leads to the issue of secret sin.
Secret Sin Can Contaminate Us in Part and as a Whole
Though sin cannot be completely contained—since it, in truth, corrupts our entire beings—at the same time, humans have the ability to partition our hearts. When we want to hide our sin from being exposed, we partition our lives—like a house, where certain interior rooms have no doors and complete access is given, but other rooms have locked doors where those rooms’ contents are hidden. Humans are like that—we sometimes lock certain areas of our hearts from God and others, and allow ourselves unfettered freedom in those areas—areas that Satan exploits by concentrating certain areas of our lives with targeted contamination.
Secret Sin Causes us to Compartmentalize Bad Behavior
Sin creates psychological disorder. It affects us at a very deep and profound level. It disfigures our souls. It corrupts our minds. But we have the ability to be or pretend to be good and upright in certain areas of our character. So certain parts of us seem upright, while allowing other areas of our character to be corrupted.
There are times that certain areas of our lives seem untouched by sin, and that it destroys other areas of our personality entirely. We’ve seen this all our lives. Think of the many news stories where someone is the greatest neighbor in the world— but is found out to be a sadist and sociopath.
Secret Sin Makes Integrity Impossible
There’s the sad story of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a man who had dozens of bodies buried in the crawl space under his home. This same man has photos with him and the wife of President Jimmy Carter together. He was able to keep it together and seem like a pleasant person while “part” of his life was cordoned off, while the other part contained this monster.
He regressed into a wonderfully kind person who dressed up like a clown and, by all accounts, entertained children at birthday parties and, as far as we know, never harmed a child. But that same man was demonized toward young men. He victimized 33 people in all, while being known as a public do-gooder.
That’s an extreme example, but it’s a common thing for people to have areas of secret sin, where our lives are allowed to be out of control—areas that Satan uses to corrupt us.
So as people, we sin—and can become enslaved to sin. But the problem is that sin never does, nor can it, satisfy. Because only God can fill the deepest needs of human beings.
Sin Predictably Fails to Bring Lasting Satisfaction
At last, sin fails to bring lasting satisfaction. Sin has lots of effects. It harms us and besets us. We should do everything we can to avoid it.