Candid Camera!


I sold a car—once. From now on, I’m just trading them in. I put at least $1,000 into it, and the guy who bought it talked me into selling it for about $800 less than I thought fair. Then, while we were driving to the notary public, he said, “I know I paid $2,000, but how about telling them $1,000? That will save me $60 in taxes!”

At the notary’s office, I wasn’t sure what to do. When asked the price of the car, I replied, “Well, if you take out what I put into it, I’m basically selling it for $1,000.” The notary said, “Just tell me the price.” I said, “I guess $1,000.” He wrote it down, and the buyer paid his taxes.

But I couldn’t sleep. I wrote to the Department of Revenue and explained what I had done. If they thought it was acceptable, great. If not, I asked them to charge me for the additional taxes. Three days later I got a bill for $60!

We are great rationalizers. It comes naturally. As we examine our lives, we replay every argument from our point of view. We think up excuses for every poor attitude. We ignore wrongs done, acting as if nothing ever happened. We live as close to the line as we can.

But what if every move was videotaped, and we could see it the way others do? What if every word, inflection and all, was recorded, and we got to hear ourselves the way others hear us? What if we were on candid camera 24-7?

It might prove so overwhelming that we would give up in despair. That would be Satan’s plan. Or it might leave us broken and longing for forgiveness. That would be the Spirit’s desire.

The word “confession” comes from the root word for “same.” It literally means to call something what it is. In other words, what I confess should match what I did. But if we don’t see or hear honestly, we don’t truly confess! That’s why the candid camera idea isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s already happening, as God hears and sees everything we say and do—just as it is. Nothing is hidden. He discerns the deepest motivations of our hearts.

Yet when I come to God in confession, He does not lecture or accuse me. He is glad I came. The Holy Spirit convicts us out of love. He longs for us to be restored to the full fellowship that our sin prevents us from having with Him. And Scripture says the Lord no longer remembers the sins we have confessed to Him (Jer. 31:34).

A wonderful aspect of confession is that the more we do it, the more Spirit-sensitive we become to the junk that sneaks into our lives. We really do begin to see and hear ourselves a little more the way others do—and even more importantly, the way God does!

The psalmist David wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart . . .” (Ps. 139:23). I want to risk praying that often! My life in Christ will come more alive. And that’s the adventure I am pursuing.

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