By Luke Friesen
Earlier this month the New York Times published an article titled “The Dark Side, Carefully Masked”, about accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. What’s become apparent is that Dzhokar lived a total double life, where the persona he displayed—of a well-rounded sportsman with a steady temperament—was completely different from the darkness inside of him.
He “kept much of his inner life secret.” He was a “master of concealment.” He was “a skilled deflector of curiosity about his personal affairs.”
“To even his closest friends, [he] was a smart, athletic 19-year-old with a barbed wit and a laid-back demeanor...They seldom, if ever, saw his second, almost watertight life: his disintegrating family, his overbearing brother, the gathering blackness in his most private moments.”
Forget for a moment that we are talking about an accused bomber, and the quotes above might start to sound familiar; at times, most of us have probably tried to hide certain truths about our lives. Are there parts of your life that you keep tightly locked down, never sharing with anyone? Is there any darkness in you that you’re hesitant to expose to the light? Are you afraid that people might reject you if they knew who you really are and what you’re really struggling with?
As you can read about in my story here, I know what it’s like to walk in darkness with no community or accountability, all the while making it look like I had everything together. The results were destructive to me and to my relationship with God. As Proverbs 28:13a says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper…”
Thankfully, God’s Word provides the ultimate light to counter our desire to hide sin.
Unmasking in Community
Ephesians 5:11 says to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Being involved with biblical community helps us follow this command. What better way to expose the darkness and sin within us than to confess it to other believers who know and love us, and who want the best for us? As James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…”
Don’t hide your junk, only to be exposed when it comes out in the form of spiritual, emotional, or possibly even physical damage to yourself or others. Take the courageous step of letting yourself be known, sin and all. If you don’t feel like doing that, you may do well to heed the sobering warning that God gave Israel in Numbers 32:23b: “you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
Praise God that when we do confess and expose our sin, He is faithful to forgive us and purify us from it (1 John 1:9)! As Proverbs 28:13b goes on to say: “…the one who confesses and renounces [their sins] finds mercy.”
Looking to take the next step of getting involved in biblical community? Check out this post on how to get connected in community, and join us for Open Community Group on Tuesday nights after the Porch!