Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Psalm 32:5)
Relate: Twice in the last two years, Rome had been whipped by Hannibal. They decided enough was enough and massed together an army of 86,000 troops to put an end to this impudent invader and crush the aura of invincibility surrounding the man. Hannibal was far and away a better tactician than anyone the Romans could throw at him. Without getting into the details, he basically encircled his enemy even though Rome had an army twice the size of his own. This meant the entire outer circle of the Roman army was the front lines and those troops in the center, packed in like sardines, could do nothing but wait for their turn to die. There are few moments in world history that would be as frightening as those trapped in the center of that fog of war listening to the sound of slaughter growing ever closer. In describing that battle and what the Carthaginians found when they had fought their way to the center of this mass of destruction that took the lives of over seventy thousand Romans, Livy wrote: “Some were found with their heads plunged into the earth, which they had excavated; having thus, as it appeared, made pits for themselves, and having suffocated themselves.” These poor troops were so frightened they had literally dug holes in the ground and then stuck their heads in. Thus the phrase was born, “Buried their heads in the sand.” All this time you thought it was about ostriches.
Did you ever play hide and seek with young children? I remember playing with a young boy of about three. After counting off, I turned and walked into another room to begin looking. This poor kid was “hiding” right in the center of the room. He was half squatting with both fists were raised in the air almost as if he were about to do a deadlift. His eyes were shut as tight as he could make them and the look on his face was halfway between a look of painful constipation and one of dedicated focus. It was the cutest thing in the world and I so wish I had a camera with me to save the image for future blackmail.
React: When I think of the downright stupidity of trying to hide our sin, it is this mental image that springs to mind. In his childish logic, three year old Isaac was convinced that as long as he couldn’t see me, I can’t see him either. We adults are just as dumb in thinking that as long as we don’t tell anybody our business, nobody knows our business. If only we could see reality with spiritual eyes we would realize that we bear far more likeness with the Romans of Cannae. We are trapped in the center of hell and destruction and our attempts to hide from the spiritual sight and noise of our coming destruction is nothing but burying our heads in the ground. Hiding our sin is not a viable option.
It is easy for me to write that last sentence, but it is so much harder to live out the reality of it. There are only two ways to deal with my sin. I can either confess it and find freedom and grace, or I can stroll my way to hell with eyes wide shut. It is far past time for me to confess my sin, acknowledge my impotence to earn my own freedom, and accept the forgiveness that God is so eagerly waiting to lavish on me.
I am so tired of hiding. I have gone long enough trying to bury my head in the sand. I have gone on too long trying to keep quiet those things that keep me down. Help me to realize that until I find accountability I will never achieve victory. Even more, help me to understand that confession is a prerequisite for forgiveness. As long as I try to find my way out, I will be stuck in this hell that I have created for myself. Help me to get my head out of the sand and bury my pride and my sin instead.