“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
What a man does with his sin will determine what sin does with the man. The writer of Proverbs notes two of the things that a man can do with his sin.
First, a man can conceal his sin.
That is what Adam tried to do. Job 31:33 states, “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom?”
Achan also tried to conceal his transgression. Prior to engaging Jericho in battle, Joshua warned the people of Israel that there were certain things in the city that were under the ban of God, things that would interfere in their relationship with God and which would bring trouble upon the entire camp, which were not to be taken (Joshua 6:18).
One man, Achan, sinned by taking some of the things that were under the ban. When he was finally discovered as being the transgressor, Joshua said to him, “Tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me” (Joshua 7:19). Achan answered by telling Joshua that he had taken some of the things under the ban and concealed them in the earth inside his tent.
The consequences of Achan’s sin were severe as both he and his family, along with all of their possessions, were stoned and burned. Numbers 32:23 warns, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
David also knew the futility and frustration of trying to conceal sin. His own pathos-filled testimony in Psalm 32:3-4 should serve as a warning to anyone thinking that covering up sin is the best way to handle it.
The worst thing that a man can possibly do with his sin is to conceal it or bury it in the hope that no one will ever find out about it. The fact of the matter is that regardless of whether or not our fellow man knows about it, God knows about it, and God cannot bless such a man.
Psalm 5:12 reminds us, “For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O Lord, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 66:18 states, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” The meaning of this verse is much more comprehensive than the matter of whether or not our prayers are heard. The verse should be understood as, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not!” Hearing is just one of the things that the Lord will not do.
Thus the worse thing that a man can do with his sin is to conceal it. Once again, what a man does with his sin will determine what sin does with the man.
Second, a man can confess and forsake his sin. Confession and forsaking are two sides of the same coin. Confession is much more than an admission of sin to God. It also includes a coming to terms with God in regard to the sin, seeing the sin as God sees it, understanding what God expects the individual to do about it, and entering into an agreement with God to do something about it.
That is where the matter of forsaking enters the picture. It is not enough to confess, we must also forsake or abandon the sin altogether, purposing never to embrace it again. According to Proverbs 28:13, the condition for experiencing the compassion of God is to confess and forsake our sin.