Dear Church, Stop Hiding Sin 

There is an icky, modern lie that worms its way into the hearts and minds of our churches. It is marring the Name of the Lord and denying Christ’s work on the Cross wherever it goes. 

What is it? It is the lie that we need to protect the reputation of Christ by hiding sin in the Church.

But it isn’t a new problem. It is a problem that has been lurking around since the beginning of the church. Satan has plagued us since the Garden of Eden when he wormed his way into Eve’s heart and made her question if God really meant what He said and if it was truly for her good. 

And here we are, thousands and thousands of years later, still questioning if God really meant what He said about our conduct. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:9-12, ESV

I think, like Eve, we are well-intentioned and want to do right.

But God does not need us to protect Him from our sin natures. God knows we are a broken, sinful people and came to save us from that very sin. But when we as a Church hide brokenness, we deny our need for the mercy of God. 

Scandals plague the church because instead of bringing them into the light and calling out sin, we minimize them and hide sin so that the world doesn’t think the people of Christ are broken. Whether it’s sex scandals, financial misconduct, or even “little” sins like drunkenness, anger, or greed, we tend to hide from it and point to others, not ourselves. 

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We’ve seen the effects again and again when sin is inevitably brought to light and the Name of Christ is scandalized not by the sin, but by cover-ups perpetuated by those who were supposed to protect the flock.

The humility of St. Paul claiming to be the foremost of all sinners is lost among us who clamor to hide our deep need for Christ’s mercy on our souls.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16, ESV

That is the example we need our leaders to set in address both their personal sin and sin in our congregations. If St. Paul is an example of Christ’s patience, how much more are you and I living testaments to the patience of God extended over and over again on our predisposition to sin? 

What example do we give the World when we hide sin instead of acknowledging that we are broken and that God’s grace extends to the adulterers, the abusers, the drunkards, and the liars like us?

Christ’s sacrifice is more than enough to cover our sins. 

When people look to our churches and see that we are saying that the sacrifice of Christ is big enough to cover any sin but that in action, we seek to hide that very sin and treat it as a PR issue, they know we deny His work with our lives if not our mouths. 

When people look to our churches and see that we are saying that the sacrifice of Christ is big enough to cover any sin but that in action, we seek to hide that very sin and treat it as a PR issue, they know we deny His work with… Click To Tweet

Instead of denying sin, God’s word makes it clear that we should be actively seeking to identify and repent of sin in our own lives. Scripture also makes it clear that when someone persists in unrepentant sin despite correction from the church, they should no longer be welcome in the Body of Christ. 

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” – 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, ESV

We are not to take the presence of sin in our congregations lightly.

Sin in the world? We are to expect it. Sin in the Church? We are expected to address it swiftly with the goal being reconciliation with the Church. Sometimes, that means that someone needs to realize the severity of their sin by being separated from the Church until they are willing to repent. 

Sin in the world? We are to expect it. Sin in the Church? We are expected to address it swiftly with the goal being reconciliation with the Church. Click To Tweet

Where sin abounds, God’s grace is even more abundant.

But when we minimize and hide sin, we minimize that amazing grace and hide an opportunity for ourselves and others to see it in action. 

If we are going to live as Christ lived, we need to take sin and grace as seriously as He did. We need to be willing to call out sin and accept Christ’s atoning work. When we deny and hide it, we don’t protect Christ’s reputation, we slander it.

An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance

Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife An Open Letter to Christians, We Must Stop Hiding Sin #churchlife #christianliving #christianchurch #devotional #repentance Why Christians Must Acknowledge Sin and Repent #coverup #church #christian #christianliving #christanvirtue #churchlife #catholic Dear Church, Let’s Stop Hiding Sin #holyliving #christianwomen #devotional #biblestudy #churchlife 

Like Christ and the woman caught in adultery, we need to acknowledge God’s mercy on our past but need to move forward sinning no more.

When we allow sin to fester in secret, we use trample of the freedom from sin given to us by Christ. 

If we are going to live as Christ lived, we need to take sin and grace as seriously as He did. We need to be willing to call out sin and accept Christ’s atoning work. When we deny and hide it, we don’t protect Christ’s reputation,… Click To Tweet

Our proclamations of His works are mocked when we deny their necessity with our actions. When our churches are more focused on maintaining the status quo the renewal of our souls and minds into the image of Christ, we have failed miserably. 

Today, let us stand firmly in the love and grace of Christ. Let us badly approach the throne of God knowing that Jesus offered up Himself as our perfect sacrifice. And let us proclaim, both through words and actions, that His work on the Christ is enough to cover all of our sin. Let us not shy away from the sinfulness that made us need Him but recognize that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete us. He has redeemed us and He is sanctifying us, forming us into His image and freeing our souls from every last grasp that sin has on our hearts. 

When we ignore sin, we deny that grace. Instead of ignoring sin, may we be people who repent, over and over again, until we see Him face to face. 

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  1. Kristin Cook says

    Great post, Bailey, and so true. It’s so easy to try to hide our sin, because we want to “look good” in front of others, or “protect the name of Christ” like you said, but when we hide sin, we are not doing anything but causing more problems and disobeying God by refusing to repent.

  2. Rachel MacPherson says

    I think you hit the nail on the head here: “Scandals plague the church because instead of bringing them into the light and calling out sin, we minimize them and hide sin so that the world doesn’t think the people of Christ are broken.”

    This is the biggest issue I see unbelievers having with the church/Christians. There’s so much fake “purity”. Christians are definitely held to a higher standard and shoving things under the carpet makes it so much worse.

    I think this post would be very helpful for many church congregations to read and discuss in small groups,etc.

    • Bailey says

      Thank you, Rachel! I wish more churches took these parts of Scripture seriously, repented, and embraced the grace of Christ.

  3. Sarah Althouse says

    love this. i get so frustrated when christians mess up publicly and people think thats the whole church. We need the world to know we sin too but thats why we need Christ

    • Bailey says

      Well, I would argue that when the whole church has been hiding the sin, they are right to think that. Often, we are complicit because we don’t take the Word of God seriously and turn a blind eye sin that Jesus told us to repent of so that His name would not be slandered.

  4. Tinashe says

    This is so true. As Christians we just need to believe and understand the fact that Jesus came to die for sinners and not perfect people. We need to accept His saving grace- He is able to save us to the uttermost. The world will be attracted with our reliance on His grace and admission of our sin than our ‘perfection’ any day.

  5. Colleen Mitchell says

    This is such a good point. I think we’re all shocked and disgusted when scandals are exposed, but fail to realize that we would do the same — hide it because it’s shameful. It’s often a case of “holier than thou” until our own sins are exposed to the public.

    • Bailey says

      It really is. It’s so sad to see when those leading churches embrace this idea and, instead of protecting their flock, hide sin.

  6. Annette Vellenga (@athomepets) says

    I really struggled to read your post due to all the pictures and ads. Oh my. There’s always this toss up right? How much does one reveal and how much does one not reveal in order to allow for individual privacy, healing and repentance? The world doesn’t need to know everything, nor does an entire congregation. Is it hiding sin or allowing for grace in the healing process?

    • Bailey says

      Unfortunately, I think it is often hiding sin. I can’t think of any circumstances where the Bible talks about keeping sin private for healing but it does that us to confess our sins to one another (the church) to find freedom and healing.

  7. Katie | Our Daily Mess says

    Oh I love this perspective!! So often I hear people blaming the Church for the sins of its people. Christ never promised us a Church without sin.

    • Bailey says

      Right! We need to be active about rooting out sin in the Church. We need to be ready to embrace those who are repentant but also protect the purity of the Church when they are not repentant.

    • Bailey says

      Exactly! We more than anyone should expect sin and recognize that we can find forgiveness and healing from it. We no longer need to fear it because Christ paid the price!

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