As a mother, I teach my children to always be honest. I have become very good at being able to tell when they are not telling the truth, or when I’m only getting part of the story. I try to instill in them the importance of going to someone they may have hurt to ask forgiveness; or, at times, going to God with the sin that is in their hearts. Today, my 7 year old son taught me a valuable lesson.
I was assisting in the Children’s Equipping Center today during church. Our Children’s Pastor was walking the children through an exercise of confessing the things that were hidden in their hearts. The children were each given a white envelope and a small piece of paper. They were asked to write down something that they are hiding in their heart — an attitude, jealousy, anger, a bad thought, etc. The children were reassured that no one else would see what they wrote. We explained that no one else could know their thoughts, except for God. We wanted them to grasp that even before an act of sin is committed, or a bad word is spoken, that God already knows it and sees it.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)
After the children prayed and wrote down the hidden thing in their heart, they were asked to seal the envelope. We then had them tear up their envelopes and line up at the prayer mic. When they came to the mic, they asked God to cleanse their hearts, and then we asked them to throw their ripped up papers in the trash can. One by one each child came, praying that God would come and make them clean and take away their hidden sin. No one shared anything about what they wrote. And then it was my son’s turn.
Aaron came to the mic and quietly prayed:
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask for You to come and heal my heart. Please help me to not cheat on any more tests.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”
I couldn’t help but smile when I heard him confess his sin, for all to hear. He came over to me and sat on my lap. I asked him why he cheated on tests. He said he didn’t know. I asked him how he did it. He told me he looked at the papers on the desk next to his in school. I asked him if he was sorry. He said yes. My son has a passion for the truth and even though sometimes he knows it will get him in trouble, he continues to be truthful. I remember when he was about five, his older sister came to me crying and said Aaron had hit her. I called Aaron over and, without revealing what I had already known, I asked him why his sister was crying. His response was “because I hit her”. Even though He did not know that I already knew what happened, he did not try and hide or cover up what he had done.
I am so thankful for a child who understands the importance of being honest, despite the consequences, and prays and asks God to come and cleanse his heart. As my son prayed for God to take his secret sin away today, I reflected on the things in my own heart that I’ve been afraid to confess, forgetting that God already sees them. I have been fooled into believing that just because they aren’t the “deep, dark” sins that are at the top of list, that it’s no big deal. But sin is sin to God, no matter how big or how small. Whether it’s just a thought or dead, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is hidden from Him.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:13 NLT)
My desire is to teach my children to walk in the light of His truth. But I must first set the example for them to follow. I am so thankful for a God who never stops loving me, despite my faults. He waits with open arms for me to confess that which He already knows. He wants so much to take away the pain and suffering that hidden sin can cause. I am thankful for children who continually keep my spiritual life in check.