During the hustle and bustle of getting 6 kids ages 16 to 4 to bed, I half-heartedly reminded my 10-year-old son to brush his teeth. Two minutes later he was playing on his yo-yo, and when I asked if he had brushed his teeth he said, “Yes!?!?” I could tell by his answer that it was dubious at best. “Come over here and let me check” I asked, knowing what it meant for both him and me (have you ever checked a 10-year-old boy’s teeth? Not pretty).
Slowly coming towards me, I asked him to open his mouth and breathe on me (the things we do as parents, seriously). He hesitated, but did so.
Smelled like tooth paste.
But I could tell from the look of it—and the look in his eye—those teeth hadn’t been touched by a toothbrush. He confessed, “Okay, so I didn’t want to brush my teeth so I just quickly put some tooth paste in my mouth and swished it around.”
Sadly creative and funny, but really?
Over the years I’ve learned a key principle that I think is sound: If we ever feel like we should hide something, it usually means it is wrong. I know, I know, there are exceptions—surprise birthday parties, presents, sensitive information, your high school year book picture, etc.
I’m not talking about those things.
I’m talking about things we hide for fear of shame and with the motive to intentionally deceive for selfish purposes. It is seen in the closing of the door, the look over the shoulder, the change of the channel just as someone comes in, the deleted text messages and cleared internet browser history, the cover up, etc.
The natural desire to cover and hide is nothing new—it is literally the oldest trick in the book.
The first thing Adam and Eve did after they had partaken the forbidden fruit and realized their nakedness was to try and hide from God because they were ashamed. Hiding is damnable not only because it is deceptive and selfish, but because it is antithetical to repentance.
Repentance requires openness. Repentance requires confession. Repentance requires acknowledgment.
Not just theological repentance, but repentance with a spouse, to a parent, with a child.
Hiding and covering doesn’t just bury actions, they usually bury relationships with our loved ones and with God. While creatively faking the brushing of your teeth one night is not a big deal, the cover-up and results of the hideout usually is.
So “come out, come out, wherever you are.” Come out from your hiding place. Open your heart. Acknowledge your mistakes. As hard as it might be to do, there will be great good that comes from this choice…perhaps the greatest is that our relationships will be blessed.