"Hiding Our Mess"

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By: Elizabeth Robertson Williams

James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

Sadly, the picture above is my closet. As you can see, it’s much more than a closet—right now it’s more of dumpster for anything I’m trying to hide. Last weekend, I had guests come to visit and in an attempt to make my teeny, tiny apartment look as clean as can be, I stuffed everything I possibly could into my closet.

It’s been nearly a week and a half, and the disaster inside my closet continues to grow. Once a mess gets this big, it has a tendency to get bigger. As much as I would like to close the door and never look back, my daily need to get dressed each morning reminds me of my growing mess.

A lot of times sin has a way of manifesting itself in a similar way. I don’t know about you, but when I’m struggling with sin, the last thing I want to do is be real about it. Instead, I find myself burying it and trying to avoid it. I try to hide it wherever I can so I can try to appear clean and spotless on the surface, while in reality my sinful mess continues to grow.

The funny thing about trying to appear clean and holy is that we ALL sin—not one of us can avoid it. 1 John 1:8 tells us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (NIV).

Last week I talked to a friend who was struggling with maintaining a pure relationship with her boyfriend and actually wanted to be real about it. How refreshing! Instead of trying to hide it, she was honest, asked for support, and confessed her need for prayer. I was blown away by her willingness to be so real.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time being real about my sin. Part of me is scared to let people see who I really am.

As much as we would like to avoid our friends when tangled in sin, we need people to pray for us. There is such freedom in learning to confess our sins to one another as today’s verse reminds us. Our Christian friends can help us work through our struggles and remind us of the grace that Christ offers to those who confess to Him.

No matter how messy life may be, we will NEVER face a sinful mess that is too much for Jesus.


Christ Jesus, I confess that it’s so easy to try to hide my sinful nature from You and from others. Please give me the courage and strength to be real. I pray for a heart that wants to be known instead of a heart that tries to hide. Thank you for infinite forgiveness and grace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Life Style: Radical Perspectives from Radical Women in the Bible by Whitney Prosperi

Think About It:

Am I more likely to share my struggles, or try to hide them?

When it comes to being real with my friends, what am I afraid of?

Live It:

Find one friend that you trust and share your current struggle. Ask her to pray for you and hold you accountable. See if you can pray for her too!

Power Verses:

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and
will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit set me free from the law of sin and death.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Elizabeth Robertson Williams. All rights reserved.


Tell Us About It:

How do you try to be real with your friends?

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