Wednesday, August 4, 2010
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She was such a sweet little old lady - the housemother who inspected our dorm rooms every week at college. I just didn't want her to get hurt. You know? I was afraid she would, though, if she opened my closet door. Look, you're busy in college with all kinds of important things - who's got time to clean your room? Some days, it was almost impossible to tell I had furniture in there. Everything was covered with what looked like the fallout from a bomb blast, but not on inspection day. No, I managed to get all the junk stuffed into my closet. Sometimes it took three guys to close the door, but eventually what I needed to hide was safely inside that closet. Safe, that is, unless you opened the door. She was such a sweet little old lady.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Dark Closet."
A lot of us still have a closet today where we try to hide the stuff we don't want discovered. Maybe there's some dark stuff you've managed to keep in that closet for a long time. Like my college room, on the surface you look clean. But just inside the closet is stuff you don't want anyone to see. And so far, no one has - except for the One who matters the most.
Nine words - that's all it is. But these nine words in Numbers 32:23, our word for today from the Word of God, literally blow the door off your closet. Here they are: "Be sure that your sin will find you out." No loopholes, no exceptions - including you. God knows everything you've done, everything you've thought, everything you've said. So you're caught! And without exception, someday your sin will be out of the closet.
You can rationalize it away - we're good at that. "It's just a little...I can't help it...I deserve this...I need this...this is love...I'll get out soon." Lies you may believe but God doesn't buy. You can compare yourself with others and feel pretty good about yourself - until you remember that God doesn't grade on the curve and His standard is perfection. You can excuse what you're doing, call it by a nice name, blame someone else, live in denial about it, try to compensate for it by doing lots of good things. But it's still sin, it's still something that helped cause the death of your Savior, it still stinks to God, and it's building up judgment for you all the time.
Recently, a major church was rocked by the public confession of one of its longtime leaders; a man described as the most trusted person in the church. But behind that closet door was 20 years of blatant sexual sin, a sin he had even confronted in others as a church leader. It had been successfully concealed from everyone but God. And now comes the picking up of the pieces in so many lives.
King David did everything to keep his adultery hidden in the closet. Until God's man Nathan tore the door off with these words, "You are the man." Finally, David faced the ugly truth and he said, "I have sinned against the Lord." Right now, God, through His Holy Spirit, may be saying to you, "You are the man. You are the woman." He's giving you this chance to finally be free of the inner torture, to stop the mounting consequences, to experience at Jesus' cross the incomparable relief and release of finally getting clean.
You've hidden it, but the sin and the price and the guilt continue to grow behind that door. It's going to be tough to open that closet and deal with what's in there. But it's going to be a whole lot tougher not to. It's haunted you. It's shamed you. It's shackled you long enough. Jesus is right there with you to help you open that door, and to once and for all get rid of the awful secret behind it.