I Sinned and Everybody Knows It, Now What?

by Stephen Goode
5 Biblical Tips on How to Respond

Many Times we Think Our Sin Remains in Secret, but no sin is secret

Whether each of us wishes to be honest with ourselves or not, we all have a secret sin or struggle  in our life that we hope no one ever exposes. For those in high school it may be something we took, lied about, or did with another classmate. For adults it may be ethics, lying, or even an inappropriate relationship with a co-worker.  We all have secrets that we would do anything to keep hidden from the world forever.

But What if My Sin has Been Made Public?

Whatever your circumstances may be, your world feels as though it is literally crumbling. You wish you could just wipe the slate clean, and start over. It would surely beat re-living your sin in your head every single time something reminds you of it. This begs the simple question of how you should handle the fact that your sin has been exposed.

5 Biblical Tips on How to Respond

Remember that God’s Grace Never Leaves You – When our sin is exposed, people tend to seem much more judgmental and condemning. They go from living in a world of gray to seeing everything in a sharp world of black and white. In these moments don’t lose sight of the fact that when people seem to have left you, God’s grace has remained. Don’t let the sinful responses of others toward your sin lead you to more sin. (Rom 5:8; Ps 51:3; Rom 3:23)

Own Your Sins and Failures – In the midst of embarrassment it is easy to become defensive and angry. You just want people to back off and give you space, and you are most certain that there is a story behind each judgmental look and glance you receive. It can become hard to admit your sins and failures when it appears everyone has already made their mind up.

One of the evidences of our sorrow for our actions is demonstrated through our humility. An obvious sign we are not sorrowful is when we stay in a pride-filled and defensive place. The consequences of our sin may be the sinful way people are responding around you, but this doesn’t give you a pass to act the same way. OWN YOUR SIN! (James 4:6)

Counsel with Godly People – Even though confession is good for the soul, it doesn’t mean to share your sorrow with everyone you meet. Keep your wise counsel to a very tightly knit person or two, but do not feel the need to share your sin with the world. If you are a public figure there may be a need to handle your disclosures a little differently, but for normal everyday people, keep your confidants tightly knit. Seek the counsel of Biblical and godly people who will lead you with biblical principles as opposed to pragmatism.

It is also important to counsel with someone you totally trust. This person will need full disclosure from you, and you cannot hide one detail from them. Healing will not begin until ALL secrets are extinguished.  (Proverbs 12:15)

Do Not Lie – It may be necessary at times to not say anything, before backing yourself into a corner and lying. When people are accusing and badgering you at school, or at work, it may feel like you need to fix the situation by redirecting the people away from your sin. You may try and do this by flinging verbal mud at them or skewing the truth. The easiest way to avoid these temptations is to say nothing. It can even sometimes lead us to an outright lie when we feel there is no other alternative. Jesus gave us the best example of how to respond when he chose not to respond to the Pharisees as they continued to falsely accuse Him. Even before Pilot, Jesus chose not to utter long and drawn out explanations, and we can learn from this. (Is 52:13)

Lying or feeling the need to explain ourselves is sometimes our way to take control of what God is already handling. This is why it is so important to have strong accountability in your life to avoid the temptation of lying and being deceptive.

Endure through Your Sin Being Exposed and Don’t Repeat – Enduring through an embarrassing season in your life is hard and difficult. You feel people will never look at you the same again, but let me give you some hope. You think that your sin was the focus of this whole exercise, but in reality, it never was! It was always about your response to your sinful actions! People will sin everyday thinking they will never be under any more scrutiny for what they did. It just so happens in your case, that everyone found out. It may seem that all they are concerned with is your sin, but why not use this moment to show them how a Christian responds to sin in their life?

Many people have responded dreadfully to the exposures of their sins and failures both inside and outside of the church. We have witnessed company CEO’s, and CFO’s commit suicide from their shame. We have witnessed college and professional athletes live a life of lies and deceit.

In fact I believe the noblest act Lance Armstrong ever performed occurred when he confessed his illegal steroid use to the world. As painful as it may have been to lose everything, he gained much more through his confession.

What is your secret sin? I have some bad news if you think it is really secret. It’s not secret to God. He knows everything about you inside out, and desires for you to respond in a way that brings healing and restoration to your life.

You will make it through your sinful season if you surrender all of your secrets to God, and re-commit your obedience to Him. You can’t avoid the consequences of all the people you hurt, but obedience can bring a new and lasting peace in your broken life.

About the Writer
Stephen Goode a.k.a. the Cop-Counselor, is the author of Marriage Triage, A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse, He is a marriage author/speaker. He spent 11 years as a police officer in North Carolina, and has been a contributor to Discovery ID and Fox News. He has a B.A. and M.A. in Biblical Counseling. Stephen enjoys mixing dry-humor with biblical teachings to make the learner walk away with practical tools to endure through their Christian life and Marriage!