By Wenona Russ
In light of all the recent exposures of sin that has taken place within the organized church system, I feel the need to explain what it means to cover sin, why the Bible says to cover sin and when covering sin for the wrong reasons always ends up in someone falling into a LIFESTYLE of sin.
Many times, when someone is found in sin-especially if that someone is popular or in leadership-many quote the scripture:
1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
So off they go with 1 Peter 4:8…they rush off and use this as a scriptural reference and excuse to participate in sometimes intentional, sometimes innocent cover-ups of sin (among leadership) that they now know about.
Religion has taught many that to not expose the sins of others is walking in love.
Others KNOW that true meaning of the scripture, yet they still misapply it to justify a blatant cover up of sin that the guilty party has absolutely NO intention of repenting of.
There is a process to this thing – the repentance of sin, the covering of sin, the application of the forgiveness of sin, and restoration.
Allow me to share:
1) Knowledge of the sin (whether that be in yourself, or in others who were involved with sin)
This is when – when a person either is convicted of sin by way of the Holy Ghost Himself – made aware of their sin. Or when a person discovers the sin of another. When the Holy Ghost convicts one of sin, the remorse and grief one feels can be likened to that of grieving for the death of a loved one. It can feel like the end of the world…the conviction can be extremely heavy…the way to tell the difference between conviction and condemnation is that the Holy Ghost will lift the conviction off the guilty party until they repent. When one is walking in condemnation, that remorse and guilt over sin NEVER leaves the guilty party. It lingers until the person feels worthless, unloved, forsaken, abandoned.
When it involves the disclosure/exposure of sin of others, shock can settle in for others who learn about the sin. Unfortunately, the way of human nature is such that when most find out ‘dirt’ on someone else, they feed off it. They may laugh and joke about it. They are not interested in your being healed of sin or restored.
But the biblical way to deal with finding out the sins of others is for the SPIRITUAL to restore them….
2) Confession/Repentance of Sin
New Testament repentance requires one to change their mind about their sin. The Greek word for ‘confess’ used in the NT is ‘exomologeo,’ which means ‘to acknowledge openly and publicly.’
The Word of God admonishes us to confess our sin/faults one to another so that we may be healed (James 5:16).
But did you realize that the same Greek word used for repentance is used for confession?
‘Exomologeo is used for the word ‘confess’ as well as ‘repent!’
That means in its proper biblical context, confession IS the same thing as repenting!!!!
(How come we don’t hear this type of teaching IN THE CHURCH?????)
What we have been taught in the church is that if a church leader is caught in sin, then that leader’s being caught in sin-and yet never fully acknowledging or publicly confessing of said sin-equates repentance. THAT is simply NOT TRUE!
I don’t know if this misinformation and misconception about the role of confession and repentance in the restoration process is intentional or if it is, in fact, due to religious ignorance and denial.
But whatever the reason, THIS misconception and false practice of NOT PUBLICLY confessing sin (exomologeo) and, therefore, properly repenting of sin is the numero uno reason why I believe many are NOT healed of their sin, neither or they restored!
Because the whole religious system is carnal and are ignorant of what it means to confess and repent of sin, and lack TRUE SPIRITUALITY sent from the Spirit of GOD, it is NOT equipped to help people be healed and restored of sin.
This would also explain the church’s trend towards covering up and denying sin instead of dealing with sin…whether it be an individual’s own sin, or a sin of church leaders.
Sweeping sin under the rug because company is coming over to the ‘house’ (church), does NOT mean the house is clean.
How many (black) church leaders who have been caught in blatant sin in the past few years flat out refused to address the situation AS THE WORD OF GOD INSTRUCTS US TO? OPENLY and PUBLICLY.
A confession speaks to something that is actually BEING SAID by a person. Its speaks to speaking on something they would rather keep private, but are compelled either by the law or by the Spirit of God to disclose, confess, share.
So many I know will misinterpret my stance on open and public confession of sin (especially as it pertains to church leaders) and mislabel it…calling it gossip or slander.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
For years-particularly after having fallen into sin myself and having to publicly repent, having had to leave a ministry, and later on shut down a ministry I started a few years back, it has been a serious concern of mine that there was no proper restoration in place for leaders who have fallen into sin.
What I have found is that the more you tend to cover up sin, the more likely it is it will come out sooner or later.
No one is healed. Only hurt. There are more souls hurt by the covering up of sin than there would be if they would just REPENT.
We all know of one famous preacher in the Atlanta area who fell into a scandal involving having illicit affairs with young men. Instead of publicly confessing to what happened, he came out ‘swinging,’ so to speak, and vowing to fight the allegations.
Then after a few other young men came out with the same allegations against this preacher, he STILL refused to deal with it publicly, but opted to ‘settle’ in court, paying the young men millions of dollars!
This happened at least 2 years ago, and this preacher has yet to (properly) repent/confess to this sin.
This type of atrocity happens (in the church) ALL the time, unfortunately.
The people find out a sin about the pastor. In black churches especially, the tendency leans towards covering up the truth than dealing with the truth.
This type of dishonest, unhealthy, unbiblical approach to sin fosters and breeds more sin, dysfunction and is also a breeding ground for demons.
When unconfessed sin lies within a house-no matter HOW ANOINTED the leader is-the Spirit of God LEAVES that house. And another spirit rules. It looks like God, acts like God, sings and preaches like God…but it is NOT!
I was inspired to write this blog based upon a story I learned of yesterday…
Gospel recording artist Deitrick Haddon publicly confessed to adultery, repented, and then he named names of others involved in the breakup of his marriage to his ex-wife, Damita.
I publicly applauded the courage, bravery and actions of Haddon in that it was refreshing to find someone who is still in the (church) system who I believe understands the process of repentance and restoration.
He shared how he had not preached at his church in over a year. In his letter confessing his sins and others involved, he didn’t bad mouth anyone, but instead encouraged the involved parties to ‘come clean in 2013’ and bring back integrity and honesty into the ministry.
Some argued that Haddon had selfish motives and another agenda in doing what he did. But according to the scriptures (and NOT the contemporary laws of political and religious correctness), I have to concur he was just, biblical and right in HOW he repented.
Yes, his confession involved naming names, but look at it this way:
In a court of law, when one has confessed to a crime, they are STILL required to take the stand…and they are STILL required on that stand to tell THE TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH…..
The confessor cannot cover for another in the guise of loving them, or covering their sins/crimes. If they pull that in any court of law, they may be served the full sentence, and even may be in contempt of court!
The ‘covering’ of sin DOES NOT entails LYING FOR, WITHHIDING INFORMATION, or SWEEPING it under the proverbial rug in religious piety and hypocrisy…
CONFESS/REPENT means to CONFESS/REPENT….TOTALLY. PUBLICLY.
3) Covering Up sin to Save Face is NOT an Act of Love!
Which brings me to my final point…
MANY in the religious world are guilty of appearing to do the right thing…but if you dig further, one can see that it was done as an attempt to save the reputations of favorite superstar preachers, ministries, denominations and fellowships.
Yes, LOVE covers a multitude of sin…
BUT it does so only AFTER that person has CONFESSED/REPENTED (publicly) of the sin, and the covering is for the purposes of helping the fallen leader/brother/sister BE RESTORED.
The covering up of sin only is supposed to take place AFTER the person has confessed to the sin and are in the healing process of said sin.
Covering up UNCONFESSED sin is making whole congregations partakers of their leaders’ sins…and this is why many households of faith are under the judgment of God. They have allowed unconfessed sin to fester, rot and grow in an atmosphere of dishonesty, lies, deceit and cover up…NOT so the leader or the people can be healed….
But to save face!
It is a prideful, willful denial of sin-which is outright lying-and when one does NOT confess their sins, there IS no healing, deliverance, forgiveness or restoration for that person…AND for EVERY LAST PERSON who participates in the cover up of their sin!!!!!
I think in the legal world, it is called ‘an accomplice to the crime.’
You didn’t commit the deed, but you were a partaker of it…therefore you suffer the same fate/judgment as the one(s) who committed the sin…and WON’T repent.
Yes, I understand that there are people out here who are malicious, and will use confession/repentance as way to malign and mock persons found to be in sin.
But just because there are people like this in the world does NOT negate the necessity to obey the Word…EVEN in the matter of CONFESSING and REPENTING properly of sin.
Once you come clean, then God can heal you. But if you continue to cover it up, the Word says you CANNOT be healed.
Don’t worry about what others are going to say or do.
YOU DO what GOD says to do!
Now, having said all that, I don’t want you to be discouraged! The church (as a whole) may not be a safe place, a healthy place, where you can confess your faults, one to another, as the Word of God tells us to.
I want to share with you that in the midst of all this confusion, THERE IS A SAFE PLACE!
A social network under the auspices of Pam Sheppard Ministries, the Remnant Exodus Society (aka RES-CUE), is an online haven for sheep whom the Lord is leading out of a barren, corrupted place, into green pastures of a ministry that will do as Jesus said: “Feed and tend His sheep, and when one is lost, leave the 99 and go after him or her. Many sheep are damaged today when they leave the Institutional Church. Once you have watched the video series called “Leave the Church,” and read the various articles in this blogroll, go to http://pamsheppard.com/rescue and become a trial member of our social network for born again Christians, the elect of God. You will hear from an RESCUE minister within 24 hours of your joining the network, most likely hours sooner.
Or, simply call 518-477-5759.