No Secret Sins

Part of what I love about teaching children’s church is the fresh insight I gain as I study the Bible story for the week. As I write, I’ve just taught the story of Achan’s hidden sin in Joshua 7.

The Israelites had recently routed the walled city of Jericho. As a whole, they must have been experiencing joy and optimism – except for one guilt-ridden man, Achan.

Achan…of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. – Joshua 7:1

Achan’s thievery was a serious matter, as God had specifically told the Israelite soldiers that they were not to take any spoils of war from the battle at Jericho. All valuables found were to be turned over to “the treasury of the house of the Lord” (Joshua 6:24).

Yet Achan took some items for himself, as he later confessed.

When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. – Joshua 7:21

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay


What Achan must have thought would remain a secret affected his family, as well as the entire nation of Israel.

Because of his sin, God did not aid the Israelite warriors as they went into battle against Ai, a city to the north of Jericho that looked to be an easy victory. Instead, the men of Ai sent the Israelite army running for the hills, and thirty-six Israelite soldiers were killed as they retreated.

Joshua and the elders of Israel bowed before the Lord in humility and grief.

And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? – Joshua 7:7

God explained to Joshua that the defeat was a result of sin in the Israelite camp, and he promised to reveal the source of the sin the next morning.

First, the tribe of the man was revealed; then, the family group; and finally, the individual family. God provided Achan every opportunity possible to step forward and admit his sin.

When Achan was named as the one who had disobeyed God’s command, Joshua’s response was surprisingly gentle.

And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. – Joshua 7:19

Achan did admit what he had done, with what must have been a mix of relief and despair. The burden of the knowledge of his crime was lifted, but he knew not what his punishment would be.

Then, Joshua announced that Achan, his family, his animals, and all that he possessed were to be stoned, and the remains burned and buried under a heap of stones.

Image by pen_ash from Pixabay


How difficult this situation must have been for all involved – for Joshua, as a godly leader; for all those who would witness or participate in the brutal execution of so many; and for Achan’s seemingly blameless family.

What regret and despair Achan must have suffered during his last moments!


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Many sins are labeled as personal or private decisions, as if secrecy justifies them. It’s often said that what people do in their own homes (or in Vegas) is their own business, even including pornography or adultery.

But I know that my private sin affects others, even if God is the only other Person who knows about it.

Holding onto bitterness, viewing media with R-rated material, begrudging my husband a sweet, respectful demeanor – these are sins I once secreted away. But their presence was like a virus, eating away at the health of my soul and invading my interactions with my loved ones.

Until I repented of those things, they stood like a wall between me and God. Only when my relationship with him was restored did everything else in my life return to proper balance.

Secret sins have a public impact.

What are your thoughts on so-called secret sins? What do you take away from Achan’s troubling story? I welcome your thoughts.

because home wasn't built in a day

19 thoughts on “No Secret Sins”

  1. I have always liked the idea of all believers collectively being the Body of Christ here in our lifetime. As such, collectively we are called to spread the Gospel and make a difference in the lives of others, and we all have a role to play. If I’m sinning, private or not, I weaken the efficiency of the Body of Christ, and because I’m not doing my part for Jesus, there could be someone out there who remains lost. Because of sin. Because of me.

    So yes indeed, the sin might occur in the privacy of someone’s home with no one around, but I do believe the world suffers because of it. — Mike

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! My church really emphasizes confession of sin to other believers, who will then support you and pray with you for deliverance from the sin and its harmful effects. I have found this to be very powerful and freeing in my own life. It is a biblical concept, but the other churches I have gone to did not really teach about it. I guess dealing with sin is not an easy thing. But so worth it!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Praise God for your church. Many believers shun this biblical teaching because of pride. Like you said confession is freeing indeed. Also it creates room for accountability. Fellowship without accountability is not fellowship

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Amen! You have this so right!! Sad to say, though, that so much of today’s church has veered away from this as they teach a cheap grace gospel which does not require one leaving his or her life of sin behind him or her. So many are teaching, in fact, that God does not require repentance or obedience to him, and some even go so far as to say or insinuate that if we are living godly and holy lives that we are guilty of works-based salvation. For, they equate living in holiness with trying to earn one’s salvation, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    So many pastors don’t even mention the word “sin” anymore or teach the need to repent of our sins, and many give people the idea that God’s grace gives them free license to continue in their sinful addictions, whether done privately or not. But, you are so right. There is so much freedom in relinquishing all to Jesus and letting go of bitterness and forsaking sins which not only impact our own lives, but which impact the lives of others whose lives are touched by us. So, thank you for this frank look at the subject of sin in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, it isn’t, especially from an OT perspective. That must have been rough living in those days. I am so thankful that I was born into the world during the Messianic age, the age of grace.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s