Thursday, April 05, 2007

Everyone who does evil hates the light

Tonight, I walked into a bookstore and started browsing the display shelves. One book (pictured to the left) grabbed my eye. It looked like it was still wrapped in brown paper for shipping. As I opened it, I found the pages filled with postcards that had been sent in to the author. They were all filled with what looked to be confessions of secrets. From crimal..."I switched my parking ticket to another car and it got paid" to perverse... "I had gay sex in church three times" to insane... "I pray to get anorexia."

It was difficult to put down, and I found myself reading it for a while. I wondered what people were doing. I turned to the front to find out that the author, Frank Warren, came up with the idea of having people anonymously send a postcard with a secret that is true and that has never been shared with anyone before. I guess when you are anonymous, the truth really comes out. One person on Amazon gives this in their review:
I read select postcard secrets out loud to a group of friends. Some of the secrets were hilariously funny. Others were very disturbing in that they revealed, long-held secrets of various abuses by and toward others, and the resulting expressions of anger, regret, guilt and sadness appeared all too often throughout the book. The boldness of people reaching out through this medium made me read their secrets with some measure of trepidation. No doubt, many readers will recognize themselves, their desires and longings, in the postcard writings. This visually-stimulating book should be a wake up call to everyone, that emotional mental health issues are inadequately addressed in our culture...
I find myself thinking of another wake up call. The problem isn't our mental health system. The problem is man's sin. Our inherent wickedness. Some Bible verses come to mind.

  • The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5
  • O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? Jeremiah 4:14
  • Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. Acts 8:22
  • For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
The wake up call is warning us that God is going to judge the world in righteousness one day. Every thought, word and deed will be brought to the light. When I witness to people, inevitably, I meet people who minimize their sin. I hear people justify themselves so much that I am tempted to believe them. It is difficult to look at people and imagine that there are horribly wicked thoughts rolling around in their heads. But, reading this book, I clearly see that there is a lot of stuff out there just below the surface. I recognize my own sinfulness in the confessions. It sickens me, but I see myself in so much of it. And, clearly, hundreds of other people have the same problem, sin.

If we start from the supposition that we are good people and God just sends people randomly to hell, then I agree, that sounds cruel. But, if we understand that our basic nature is to sin, and we do that daily in thought, if not in word or deed, and that God loved us enough to offer salvation anyway, THAT is the Gospel. If you are over 18, you can check out a bunch of examples at the author's web site,, and see if you see yourself. Think about how gracious God is to pay the penalty for your sins. Then, next time you head out, think about all the people out there who need God's forgiveness as well. Let your compassion for those people swallow up your fear and let them know the Good News. Someone did it for you.

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