by Whit Sasser

A line of a Christian hymn reads… “Forgive the secret sins I do not see.” The mercy of our God is so great in the forgiveness He grants for sins we are unaware of…the sins we do not even see. Wow!

There are sins I do not see due to ignorance…I didn’t know. Whether as a new Christian just starting out, or one full-grown in the faith, and at any stage along life’s way, I am ignorant of perfectly all of God’s will for me and thus need forgiveness. God says if anyone says he knows anything, he knows nothing as he ought (I Corinthians 8:2). God says at one time He overlooked ignorance, but now commands everyone, everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). I am glad God forgives me of the sins in my ignorance…those sins I yet do not see.

There are secret sins I do not see. Maybe they are secret because of my deceitful heart that does not want to accept something as wrong, but which is. I can lie to myself so much that I believe it to be true and become blinded to the reality which I know. This is akin to sins of ignorance, but maybe a bit different. I cannot truthfully say to God in judgment, “I did not know” but rather I did not believe it. As the Scriptures say, “I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief” (I Timothy 1:13). Psalm 90:8 reads, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” Thank you, God, for forgiving my secret sins…the sins I do not sin.

There are sins I forgot, and of course, then, do not see. Sometimes I forget right away … literally. Sometimes I forgot at the end of the day to ask God to forgive me of that transgression earlier in the day. Sometimes it is forgetfulness due to injury or disease. I may forget due to my past abuse of alcohol and drugs affecting my mental faculties. Dementia may rob me of the ability to recall well. I am so glad God is merciful to forgive me of the sins I forgot … the sins I no longer see.

There are sins of weakness and shortcomings I am incapable of seeing … at least not clearly. We all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But, to what degree? I am commanded by God to be hospitable, to be in self-control, to be loving peace, etc. Am I? Am I meeting His standards and expectations? I do not know. Am I trying my best along these and many other lines, or am I not? I do not know. I may think I am trying my best … but am I? God urges me to add to my faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, etc. Well, am I? And if so, am I doing so to His approval? I don’t know. The apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 4:4, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” God may see what I not see.

Thank God for His wondrous mercy, forgiving sins I do not even see if I am in compliance with His conditions of pardon. Amen.

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