A Deceitful Heart Confessed
There is in every believer uprightness and deceit. I have found both these in myself. I really have been in company, before now, with one that I was sure loved and feared God, and I have felt a union of soul to that person, liberty and freedom of speech; yet not long after this, I have lost the enjoyment of these sweet things, and that person has been permitted to cross me, either in word or in action. This has stirred up the old man within me, which is corrupt according to his deceitful lusts. Well, this person has crossed me again, which has made matters worse. After which, I have been with others, and spoken against such a person’s conduct, and have had hard thoughts against his state, and been tempted to cut him off.
Well, at the very back of this, I have met the very person, and spoken quite friendly to him, when just before I had been speaking slightingly of him. What is all this, say you? I answer, that it is deceit. Yes, it really is; and to my shame be it spoken.
Now such conduct in speaking behind your friend’s back is deceit, and though you may for a time escape the rod, yet you will not escape it altogether. No, God will visit sin with a rod. I will tell you now, simply and honestly, how I have felt it. I sometimes awake soon in the morning, and generally try to feel after the Lord. This occasions an examination as to how matters stand. Well, I shall be led to meditate on my having spoken slightingly and disrespectfully of such a person, and I feel quite troubled about it.
Various texts of Scripture are brought to my mind, such as these:
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.”
“He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”
“He that condemneth the just” is an “abomination to the LORD.”
These, with many others, shall roll in, my heart shall sink, terror and slavish fear are felt, and I feel truly guilty.
Now you cannot do worse at such times than try to excuse yourself; you try to prevent God’s order. That is the worst step you can take, for these texts were intended by God to prove you guilty. Therefore it is the best and wisest step to fall under these convictions, and honestly to confess the whole to the Lord.
“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.”
But, say you, if I confess the whole to God, I am afraid I shall sink into black despair, and that the Lord, out of my own mouth (see 2 Samuel 16) will condemn me.
Depend upon it, you are quite wrong if you act so, and you are standing in an evil thing. The Lord says, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity” (Jeremiah 3:13); “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). And at the same time plead the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, for there is “a fountain opened … for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).
Tell the Saviour that He came into the world to call sinners to repentance, and that you are the character that His commission reaches, and expect your deliverance only in and through Him. Be assured the storm will soon be over, faith will be in exercise, peace will be felt, and access to God will be enjoyed at a throne of grace.
By John Rusk (1771-1834)