Invisible Sin

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Once there was a man who did not want to admit he was wrong, about anything. Because he was a foot taller than his wife, and three feet taller than his children, and because he had a gruff voice, he was easily able to cow them into silence. His fits of anger, once sporadic, became more and more regular.

But because he had cowed everyone close to him into a fearful silence, there was no one to tell him what was happening. He assumed that if there was a serious problem, certainly someone would tell him about it, but then he behaved in such a way as to guarantee that no one would ever be so foolish.

Such is the nature of self-deception. Because no one ever told him he had a serious temper problem, he assumed that it could not possibly be that bad. Sure, perhaps he was a little gruff or short sometimes, but isn’t that human nature?

As time went on, his invisible sin (invisible only to him) became increasingly visible to everyone else. Soon the mailman knew about it, the water delivery guy, the plumber, and the neighbors who lived on either side of them. His anger was one of his most obvious characteristics. But no one said anything, and he continued on, oblivious.

One day the plumber, who attended the same church with this man, began to broach the subject, very gingerly, but stopped as soon as he saw that the man was going to be very angry with his wife for gossiping with the plumber’s wife—which had not happened, but there was no sense trying to explain. The man’s sins had long since become invisible to him, and did not remember the three times he had yelled at his wife with the astonished plumber in the next room, wrench in hand.

“I am surrounded with gossips,” the man muttered as he stomped off. He would speak to his wife that evening, and he would have to take a firm hand. And this is the way the man lived out the rest of his life, and unfortunately, it is also the way his wife and children lived out their lives. The problem was not ever addressed until the day when heaven and earth fled from the presence of the Lord, and along with them went this man’s thin smoke of excuses.

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