Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” – Concealment of sin delivers no one from God’s wrath, but God will show mercy to the humble penitent. Here the blessing of God’s mercy is declared to sinners, on the condition of their confessing and forsaking their sins; and this condition contains with it the idea and the duty of true repentance, without both true repentance and true forsaking you will not truly gain access to the grace and mercy of God, you will continue to live under the guilt of covered up sin.
“That covereth his sins” – that does not confess them to God, and men too, when the situation calls for it. Covering sins can also take place when one tries to justify them, or deny them, or excuse them, or try to sweep them under the rug to protect so and so, or because of “the good of the ministry”, or to protect our cause. There is never a legitimate justification to cover up sin to protect a ministry or a person, that is just greater sin, compounding sin, and making the whole situation that much worse. The best solution, the biblical solution is to man up to the wrong doing, confess the wrong doing and never try to cover anything up “for the sake of the ministry”, that is a poor, cowardly, and sinful excuse for covering up sin.
“Shall not prosper” – in the end the covering up of sin will not succeed in avoiding punishment, in fact the repercussion of covering up the sin will in the long run be greater than the repercussion of just confessing the original sin. This verse implies that by concealment of sins the person will not find mercy, but it also states that “whoso confesseth and forsaketh them”, (notice it states confess them and forsake them); it is not enough just to confess them, while still planning on doing them again in the future after you engineer a better concealment plan for your sins, but you must sincerely confess them and sincerely plan to forsake them to qualify for the next part of the verse.
“Shall have mercy” – you shall have mercy from God, who hath promised you this mercy and a pardon of the sins you have confessed. You can pray and ask for mercy from the offended person but that may or may not happen, but you will have been forgiven from God, you will have that sin under the blood of His forgiveness. Having forgiveness and mercy from God does not necessarily mean there will no longer be repercussion or punishment of your sins on earth, there most likely still will be, depending on the severity and type of the sin committed.
The folly of indulging sin – or of excusing it, denying it, or making excuses for it, diminishing it, or throwing the blame of it onto others. The Bible is clear “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” He will not have long term success in his endeavor to cover his sin. It will be discovered, sooner or later. There is nothing hid which will not be revealed. He that covers his sin will not prosper, nor will he have any true peace of conscience. David talked of himself as having been in a constant state of agitation while he covered his sins, Psalm 32:3-4.
The toll hiding sin takes on someone – Hiding sin can drain us of our resources. It can “eat” at us. In a sense, we have no energies to invest in the lives of others for fear of being exposed or found out. Our energy is invested in covering up our sin, not in ministering to others. A good example of this is found when one chooses to speed while driving. It is difficult to sit back, put on some easy-listening God glorifying music, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. One’s energies are spent being on the lookout for the next police officer, who might ruin his day with a ticket at a high price. He is seeking to hide his sin, to not be found out. However, if he drives the speed limit, then he can sit back and relax. Peace is not available in deception. In fact, unfortunately, we can find ourselves frantically falling deeper and deeper into sin as a result of that deception.
The benefit of parting with sin – both by a sincere confession and a true reformation: He that confesses his guilt to God and is careful not to return to that sin again, will find mercy with God. His conscience will be eased, and his ruin prevented. The man who denies, justifies, or excuses his sins, through pride or hypocrisy, will continue under condemnation, and will not have any long-term success. But he who condemns himself, and humbly confesses his sins in true repentance and faith and works to set his sins right in the eye of the offended, will find mercy from God, however egregious his transgressions may have been.
Our Lord taught repeatedly that sin bottled up on the inside, concealed from everyone else’s view, carries the very same guilt as sin that manifests itself in the worst forms of ungodly behavior. Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as culpable as out in the open adulterers (Matthew 5:21-30).
God sees the heart – Scripture tells us ” for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7. No sin—not even a whispered curse or a fleeting evil thought—is hidden from the view of God. In fact, if we realized that God Himself is the only audience for such secret sins, we might be less inclined to write them off so lightly. (Isaiah 29:15 – Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?) The Bible also declares that God will one day judge the secrets of every heart (Romans 2:16 – In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. & Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.)
Not only that, secret sins will not remain secret. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” – I Corinthians 4:5. In Luke 12:2-3 Jesus said “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all. (Jeremiah 16:7 – For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.)
Hiding sin involves the compounding sin of hypocrisy – Those who sin secretly or act and engage in hiding sin actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. Hypocrisy is a grave sin in its own right. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin. And the only remedy for any kind of sin involves uncovering our guilt through sincere confession. If you help to conceal the sin of another you are engaging in a terrible sin yourself. As a Christian you should never have anything to do with helping to conceal the sin of another; instead we should rebuke them of that sin and seek to help them and anyone their sin may have affected. (Ephesians 5:11 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.)
Hypocrisy will permeate the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So, hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the vilest, soul-coloring, character-damaging secret sins.
Your secret life is the real litmus test of your character – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” – Proverbs 23:7a. Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life—especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart. You may not like what you see, but it is by being totally honest with oneself that you make the first steps to true repentance and turning your life around to Christ.