One night a man got drunk and ended up in a bar fight during which he received several cuts and bruises to his face. When he got home he stood in front of the bathroom mirror and tried his best to bandage his face. Then he quietly snuck into bed beside his sleeping wife. When he opened his eyes the next morning she was standing over him with a scowl on her face. She said, “You were drunk last night, weren’t you?” “No,” he answered. “Well then,” she said, “if you weren’t drunk who stuck all those band-aids on the bathroom mirror?”
We try to cover up our sins because, let’s face it, we are ashamed of them. Some people seem to be experts in the art of the cover-up whereas others, like that drunk, aren’t so skilled and get exposed far more easily. These are the folks who end up in the news, in jail, fired, divorced, or the talk of the town.
I suppose the Bible’s best example of a man who tried to cover up his sins is King David. The infamous story is found in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12. David had an adulterous one-night-stand with the beautiful Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of David’s most loyal soldiers. Not long afterwards Bathsheba got word to David that she was pregnant with his child. That put David in full cover-up mode. After he tried a couple of shrewd attempts to create the illusion that Bathsheba’s pregnancy was caused by Uriah, he ended up having Uriah killed. Of course, even that was made to look as if Uriah had legitimately died in battle. Following Bathsheba’s suitable time of mourning, David moved her into his home and made her his wife. Later on she gave birth to his son.
Perhaps David thought that his cover-up had worked. Then again his words in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 might indicate that he didn’t. Either way God had the final verdict on the sordid mess, and His verdict was a stern one. For one thing, the infant son died. For another, God spoke through the prophet Nathan to inform David that the sword would never depart from his house. That meant that death and tragedy would characterize David’s line for years to come.
Didn’t God forgive David of his sins once David confessed them? Yes. But forgiveness wasn’t the issue. The issue was that, despite the forgiveness, God didn’t erase the public stain of what David had done. Even long after David had passed away, the memory of what he had done to Uriah was associated with his otherwise great name. 1 Kings 15:5 says of him:
…David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. (N.K.J.V., emphasis mine)
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if David’s life and service to the Lord hadn’t included that closing thought? With that said, though, let’s not judge David so severely. I say that because if every last cover-up was suddenly exposed today, how many of us would be scandalized by our own “matter of Uriah the Hittite”? You say, “I’ve never committed adultery or had someone killed.” Okay, I’ll give you that, but chances are that you’ve done other sinful things for which you are quite ashamed. I’ve got such things on my resume, as do most people. So let’s all step down off our holier-than-thou pedestal and start seriously dealing with these sins. Rather than try to cover them up, rationalize them, or explain them away, let’s sincerely confess them and repent of them. Who knows? Maybe no one but God will ever know about your Uriah. Then again, maybe it will one day become open scandal. Either way confession and repentance is the only chance you’ll ever have at right fellowship with the Lord.