In my life, I find the most destructive and controlling sins those which are internal and that I keep to myself.
Unforgiveness, lust, anger, hatred, pride and arrogance are examples that come to mind.
How we deal with our sins when we commit them will determine what dominance they have over us. Do we wallow in our own sins, feeling sorry for ourselves and our bad lives? Or do we confess them to the LORD and to our trusted brethren in church, who can reassure us and restore us onto the path to righteousness?
Three passages of Scripture come to mind:
Proverbs 28:13. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
1 John 1:8-10. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
I think the general point is clear. And it is: When you sin, recognise it, and confess it both to God and to each other. This way, sin will not have dominion over you, and it will not control and direct your emotions and your thoughts. I reckon that many a Christian person has sinned and has just left it ’til later to turn back to God — only to find out either to have forgotten to have done so altogether, or that they do not want to turn back after all, or that they cannot by their own strength overcome a habitual sin.
God promises to cleanse and restore us fully and completely only if we seek to love and honour him in confession of sins to each other. Satan is a god of secrets; he wants us to wallow in our own shame, and he wants us to have pride and to fear exposing our works of darkness to the light. John 3:20 says: “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.“ His lie is that you can do it alone, and that you are too filthy to confess. But God says, precisely because you are filthy, confess, and I will wash you clean.
In light of this, I find Ephesians 5:8-16 helpful to dwell on. God bless.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light [compare John 3:20]. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.