The Great Cover-Up

I want to cover a topic that my pastor preached on this last Sunday.  He was obviously talking to the church, but his point applies to anyone that is trying to build a community of people.  His sermon was entitled “The Great Cover-Up” in reference to how we handle things when we do something wrong, make a mistake, or commit a sin.  Do we run and hide, or do we stand up and face the situation with courage?  Unfortunately, almost everyone in our society has taken the lesser road.  So what we need to do is understand how this trend got started, why we haven’t fixed it, and how we can fix it.  If we could get this right, we could massively change our entire culture.

First we need to understand why this is such a powerful force in our lives.  It all started in the Garden of Eden.  After God made man and woman, He gave them a perfect sanctuary in which to live.  The only rule was that they couldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge.  As you know, Eve cracked under the pressure. 🙂 And of course, Adam followed instead of leading.  (My wife and I always joke about who was really at fault.)  But after they ate the forbidden fruit, what happened?

Genesis 3: 7-8   “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.  They heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 

Now think for a minute how silly it is for them to be hiding from God.  They knew Him on an intimate level that we can’t possibly  understand, so I would assume that they knew He is omniscient and omnipresent.  Yet even with that knowledge, their instinct was to hide like a five-year-old only child who just wrote on the wall (not that that ever happens).  So if Adam would hide from God, for sure, mankind is going to hide from other humans!  It is in our makeup, our DNA.  That doesn’t make it right or an acceptable strategy, but we need to know that it will be our first inclination.  

Now that we know where those original feelings come from, we need to understand why our culture has made uncovering mistakes such a negative proposition. This one is easy, and most of you already know the answer.  We have been raised in a society where being wrong is viewed negatively.  We get marked down—not marked up; we get told what we did wrong—not what we did right; we hear news about people that are doing wrong—not about the people who are doing right. Humans are naturally drawn toward the negative. You are looked at as being weak if you admit you have issues instead of being seen as courageous for facing them.  All of this has produced a culture of fear—fear of facing the issues that every one of us has.

Another factor that has affected our ability to fix issues is trust.  We don’t trust the person we are talking to because he hasn’t gone through the same process, so we are not sure if our conversations are going to be private or if he may tell someone else. We may not be sure if others have the aptitude to help us.  And sometimes we just feel like others will judge us.  This last one is interesting.  We all know someone like this: the holier-than-thou person.  This person comes across like he just has it all together and never sins, and if he ever does, it is certainly not as big as your sins.  It is very hard to help people if you give off that perception.  If God is the standard, then all of us are filthy compared to His holiness.

Isaiah 64:6   For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds  are like filthy rags.

So what do we do to start repairing this cover-up mentality?  First, we need to follow what Scripture tells us to do.

James 5:16      Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed.

This would imply that we are supposed to be part of the process.  If we are part of the process, then we need to create a culture of facing sin—not covering it up.  Following are some actions we can take:

  • Let people know that all of us are sinners saved by grace
  • Let others know some of the areas in which we have struggled
  • Edify the people who are willing to face sin instead of running from it
  • Keep all conversations private
  • Be trustworthy with minor issues, so others know they can trust us with the big ones
  • Attack the thought process—not the person
  • Let people know that nothing they say will affect your opinion of them

This list is easy for me to write up because my mentors have done all of these things for me.  Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward have modeled these behaviors for me.  We must first go through this process if we are going to become really effective in helping our fellow man.  We must understand what it is like to reveal our sins to someone else before we can help others to admit their sins to us.  It is vitally important as a community that we stop hiding behind the bushes acting like we don’t have any problems.  We all have them, and none of them are worse than others because anything we do right is still like a filthy rag.  Let’s become a group in which resolving issues is more courageous than covering up issues.

God Bless

Bill Lewis

 

 

 

39 thoughts on “The Great Cover-Up”

  1. Great blog. It takes courage to go against the ‘norm’, and I respect and admire all of the PC for setting an example worth following and doing what is right regardless of culturally accepted norms.

    Thanks for everything you do, looking forward to seeing you guys speak soon!

  2. Well said Bill. My pastor in St. Paul, MN had almost the identical message about taking responsibility when something goes wrong. You rock!

  3. Bill…you are so right. I too fear telling God what I have done. To your point, He already knows. Being able who does not know is very hard. I had never considered the view that if your mentor has taken that step then it should make it easier for us to approach them. Thank you for sharing and providing a new focal point.

  4. “Speaking in layers!”… “Speaking from our center to their center”…thanks for your insights and perspectives Bill! You and I have a lot in common and you’ve helped me see some blind spots from building walls. Thanks for being a strong Christian example for me to watch and model. I hope that I can one day be the husband and (hopefully father) to my family the way that you are! God Bless!

  5. I love this post Bill. Of all the things you have taught me , this principle has made the biggest difference of all. Since I now realize that even the greatest of men have made a ton of mistakes and struggle with weakness , I now realize I don’t need to be perfect to accomplish great things. Thanks again Bill.
    Chris miller

  6. Bill thank you for sharing your pastor’s message. I believe that we need to take ownership and create a culture of facing our sins instead of running and hiding from them. Sometimes we know how and sometimes we choose not to want to know how. The action steps you listed is like a road map through a mine field. As I read each one I was thinking, “I messed that one up before!” Having someone to set the example is so invaluable and I am thankful I too have someone in my life. Chris Mattis has shown me grace in many instances where I have struggled to extend trust and have rather gone into passive resistive mode just because it is easier not to deal with issues. But through God’s grace and an environment that the LIFE business provides, we can begin the process which begins with our thinking. I came here looking for leadership and it led me to having stronger Faith, the unshakeable kind. Thanks again Bill, today I will put into action what I’ve learned!

    God Bless

    Albert Maglines

  7. Thanks Bill for the remainder. We who have read the Bible know what the right thing is to do. But still the majority of us do choose the road often followed. We believe it is the easier direction. But truth be known it is the harder direction of travel. It is always better to “Man up” or “Woman up” and accept the consequences of our poor behavior

  8. Great post Bill! Thanks for sharing. It is way easier to hide and cover stuff up than it is to deal with it head on. Great reminder for all of us.

  9. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post! One of the things I have been impressed by the most with the LIFE business is the transparency of and grace shown by its leadership. Thanks for leading by example!

    Sharon Nelson-Curtice

  10. Man, Bill, for me it’s pride. I mean like its heavy hard core stuff. Like the thoughts, those webs, that when you have them just make you feel guilty to the core. I don’t want to say the “holier-than-thou” attitude, well, because frankly it sounds terrible and it makes me semi-uncomfortable, but it is. It’s the, “I’ve done this and this and you don’t,” or the “well because I approach stuff this way I know what I’m talking about.” Killing those thoughts in my head is a serious job. One I don’t, and CANNOT, take lightly. With that said I would ask not only for prayers, but in return I offer mine to anyone who needs them. As much as my pride wants to be proud of my admission, my humanity, and also very choleric nature, demand results, change, grace, and humility. Thanks for this article Bill. You always write very well, and very appropriately for the times.

  11. Thank you Bill! All of those principles apply to all of us, and are certainly modeled by the founders of Life, and the rest of our leaders!

  12. Wow Bill, you just summarized what many people go through their lives trying to figure out. Well said. What a great post to share with the world.

  13. Bill, thanks for the reminder. Thanks also for your & Jackie’s examples. We need to keep reading, listening to, & associating with the Truth!

  14. Bill, you really shared an important observation here! Resolving issues requires courage, which the prevailing culture is severly lacking. I accept your challenge!

  15. This was also talked about in my church on Sunday. And how important it is to have and to have that person to be able to confess too.. Knowing they will never think different of you. But more importantly to be that person for someone else. Thank you for talking about something that alot don’t think about. And setting that example.

  16. One of my favoirite posts ever! This was so powerful! We are so blessed to be following such wise and insightful people… you and Jackie are true heroes! Whats so amazing is that you are not so prideful as to keep your issues to yourselves- you have often beared your issues in front of us to use as examples! Thank you for your love, honesty and wisdom!

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