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This reminds me of an incident I experienced while also working in South Africa. I had been working on a research project but had made a significant error early on in the project. Instead of coming clean I unfortunately chose to try and cover my mistake.


It wasn’t too long before my conscience really began to bother me. I knew it was wrong to hide the error because the results of the project would be worthless. So I confessed this sin to God and asked His forgiveness and I received it.


But I also knew God wasn’t going to let it rest there. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had to let my supervisor know. So I fought with God, begged Him, “Isn’t my confession to you good enough?” The answer was clearly “no.” I was forgiven, but God wanted me to deal with my sin fully.


You see, God knew my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure ...” God knew I didn’t want to admit my mistake to anyone. I wanted to look competent, and capable yet I needed to admit what I had done.


I had sinned in trying to hide the fact and I needed to acknowledge that. Then one night it was as though the hammer came down. I literally felt that if I were to fall asleep that night, if I did not resolve the matter as God told me to, I would wake up in hell.


For those of us who believe in “once you’re saved, you’re always saved,” this thought is quite uncomfortable. Yet it reminds me of the story of Jonathan Edwards, a revival preacher in the United States. He gave a sermon which you may have heard about, entitled, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” It is said that as he preached this sermon, people literally held on to the pillars in the church for fear they would descend into hell.


I know that feeling, it is the most awful feeling I have ever experienced in my life. So after struggling all evening under this conviction I wrote the letter to my supervisor. I confessed my sin to him, acknowledging my mistake and asking for his forgiveness. I went to bed and the next morning I was quick to mail that letter.


I believe we do not take our sin seriously enough because we have lost sight of the holiness of God, yet His holiness is as much part of Him as His love.


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