"What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What a relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record."1
I read about a girl who had a raccoon as a pet and was warned that it was about to undergo a glandular change that animal specialists say happens when they are about eighteen months old. This change can make them very dangerous.
Unfortunately, the girl didn't heed the warning, protesting that her much-loved pet would never do anything to harm her. She was wrong—very wrong. Soon after, her raccoon clawed her so viciously she had to have reconstructive facial surgery.
Unresolved personal conflicts can have a similar effect. Some people can look very calm on the outside, but underneath they have a reservoir of super-charged repressed negative emotions that they never learned how to handle creatively.
At some point something happens. Their stored-up negative emotions are triggered—often by something as simple as somebody making a trivial mistake—and kaboom! They explode. Or they implode and become ill, or may even have a heart attack.
Other people have a secret or pet sin they hang on to telling themselves that it would never harm them. In time, however, it becomes a habit, the root of which they've never resolved. And then the habit gets the better of them and becomes an addiction that ends up badly hurting them and their loved ones.
So, whatever "pet raccoons" you and I may be harboring, we need to be aware that they could hurt us real bad if we don't get them out of our life.
As David said, "There was a time when I wouldn't admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. All day and all night your hand was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, 'I will confess them to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone."2
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, if there are any ‘pet raccoons’ in my life that I am either harboring or unaware of, please bring these to my attention and help me to see how dangerous they are and, with your help, get them out of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 32:1-2 (TLB)(NLT).
2. Psalm 32:3-5 (TLB)(NLT).