“I didn’t do it!”
“It wasn’t me!”
“I was only kidding!”
As a father, I’ve heard these objections countless times from every one of my children, and most often, I’ve found them to be the opening arguments of a defense built on lies and half-truths. Now, it might be that I have an unusually dishonest family, but I suspect most parents have similar exchanges on a regular basis. Evasive words were not invented by our children; they have been part of our vocabulary since Adam’s fall in Eden. Whether it’s Adam blaming Eve for his disobedience, or Eve blaming Satan for hers, or Cain asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”, man has proven himself skilled and creative at avoiding and distorting the truth when confronted with his faults.
When it’s our children being elusive, it’s easy to become frustrated at their protests. It’s bad enough having to confront an infraction, but when their response is dodgy, the difficulty increases because the road to restoration is now rock-strewn and full of turns. A parent’s joy is unhindered fellowship with their children, and when that fellowship is interrupted by sin, we immediately jump to action to restore the relationship. In our minds, the path is a short one and includes confession, correction, and repentance. However, without honesty, every parent knows these milestones are unachievable, leading to a suspended relationship and frustration for both parent and child.
While as parents we readily discern the broken dynamics in our relationships with children, it’s amazing how difficult it is to diagnose the same in our relationship with God. Our reflex is to minimize, justify, or ignore our sins when God brings them to our attention. Rather than come running home on the prodigal’s path, we convince ourselves we would be better off adorning a mask or playing a game of rhetoric with God in our hearts. Perhaps, we suppose, our happiness is to never peek into the box of our wretchedness. Ignorance is bliss, even if it’s contrived!
Of course, we know nothing could be further from the truth, if not by experience, then certainly by scripture. In a moment of clarity, David reflects on his sin and acknowledges his self-deception was only harming himself:
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3,4)
Our souls find nourishment in open, honest, and regular communion with our heavenly Father which He facilitates by His Spirit and His word. When we conceal our sin, or call it something different, we contradict the truth He has revealed in His word, and make Him out to be a liar. In doing so, we break communion with Him and deprive ourselves of what we most desperately need, experiencing the symptoms David describes above. As any good parent, God wants to put us on the short track back to wholesomeness, and that track requires complete transparency with Him. In Psalm 51, David again confesses his sin, and says to God:
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)
Having discarded the games and deceptions he was playing with God, and having borne his heart out before Him, David now has his head and his heart on straight and is able to request of Him:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-11)
This is where we need to be, and our hearts know it full well. Our joy, and His desire, is truth in the innermost being.