By Debbie DiVirgillo* of the Faith Based Non-Profit Resource Center.
*Shared with her permission

I have been thinking and reading about sin this week. Not a topic we usually like to think about, but it’s a reality, right? As I think about sin, I realize that most of my sin is never seen by other people… you may be the same. Perhaps you have been a believer for a long time and you are not tempted to do the really bad things in life.

But, maybe my sins that no one sees are even worse… because they are sins of the heart, thoughts and feelings I have hidden in my heart. And, in many cases have even been able to justify… well, because you know, its just not my fault. So, here are some thoughts.

Sin is a matter of the whole person. Every part of us is sinful, even those parts that we think are ok. That doesn’t mean that we engage in every sinful act possible, or that we don’t have moments of virtue.

Sometimes our sinful nature is covered by smiles, gentleness and grace. But, under this false veneer lies a heart that is not free of sin. Landon Gilkey spent time in a Japanese prison camp and discovered this truth. He had been raised in a good home with kind, generous people. But, while in the prison camp, he saw a different side of human nature.

In this environment, with space at a premium, he saw just how the human heart actually operates. To make things as equal for everyone as possible, each person was given the same allotment of space. Gilkey was in charge of housing (space) assignments. Some of the other prisoners came to him with elaborate stories about why they needed more space than others.

Others moved their beds a fraction of an inch every night to gain a bit more space. Even the Christian missionaries were involved in moving their beds.

Because of our sin, we might think we are doing things for the right reason, but there are wrong motives in everything we do. These wrong motives may include pride, a sense of entitlement, guilt or our own self-interests. These can be very hard to figure out and eliminate.

It is possible that the good acts we do are not out of our love for God, but for some other reason. As a nonprofit or ministry leader, these thoughts may be challenging. We may feel that we are serving, giving and caring out of the goodness of our hearts. But, perhaps, we need to look deeper and as we are told in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me God and know my heart….see if there is any offensive way in me.”

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