Know Your Knee-Jerk Sin

Date: March 11, 2024

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Psalms 19:12


Ever said something like, “That’s just the way I am!” to excuse some less than desirable behavior?

Adriana is a people person. When she converses with you, she locks eyes with you and listens intently to what you’re sharing. It’s a great quality. But, when she’s at a party or work function where her husband has accompanied her, she completely– and inconsiderately, forgets that he’s even with her. More than once, he’s reminded her afterward how hurtful her unthinking behavior is to him.

Adriana’s treats her spouse carelessly and rudely, without even thinking about it. It’s a sort of “spontaneous sin,” that just takes over at times. The Bible calls these “hidden faults” or “secret sins,” because we may not even be aware of them when we’re in the middle of committing them. But of course, they’re no secret to God (Hebrews 4:13) or to those around us. The Psalm writer said, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Search me, O God, and know my heart… test me and…point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalms 19:12 and 139:23a-24).

The old philosopher’s phrase, “Know thyself,” gives us great advice. We do have to know how we’re put together, our personality quirks, in order to watch for ways our behaviors hurt others and displeasing to God. If you’re a talker, it’s likely you’ll blurt out something hurtful given enough time. If you’re naturally risk-averse, you may become proud of your “good behavior” and judge rule-breakers unmercifully.

The good news is that God wants to answer our cries for self-awareness and even better, says that “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just…to forgive us…and…cleanse us!” (I John 1:9).