“That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:4)
God’s all for keeping secrets, just not the ones we want. In the first eighteen verses of this chapter, Jesus lays out three areas in the Christian’s life that should be considered secret service: our giving (vv. 2-4), our praying (vv. 5-6), and our fasting (vv. 16-18). All three of these are guaranteed to gain us recognition, Jesus says (“They have their reward”), but not always from God. But when you and I can manage to accomplish these things without anyone but God knowing about it, He takes care of the reward.
Now let’s flip the coin. There are other things God says should not be kept a secret: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). The very things that should be brought out of the closet and denounced are very often stuffed back in to only become worse. That’s thing about sin; it’s not stagnant. It either festers and grows or is confessed and confined. God has promised that if we’ll uncover them before Him, He’ll cover them.
Now I’ll ask you what I had to ask myself. Are you tooting your own horn (Matt. 6:2) about your generosity, your prayer life, or your personal deprivation; or are you quietly practicing personal piety before God? Are you harboring secret sin a dark recess of your heart and life, or are you willing to say daily to God, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions…” (Psl. 51:2-3)?
We cover our sin and display our virtue. God says we should do just the opposite.