Joshua 7:10-12, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”
Disobeying God will always produce consequences that were unplanned, unintended, and unwanted. Innocent people are always affected by my sin, no matter how secret I believe that sin to be. You can be sure that Achan never intended for the army to be defeated, or for Israelites to die. God withdrew His hand of blessing from Israel because He would not bless a people in whom there was hidden sin. Only one family had taken that which was devoted to God and had hidden it under their tent. Just one family! Yet the army was defeated, and 36 men lost their lives.
Do you see the seriousness of sin? Do you understand that God will not bless disobedience? Sin is not fair. One man’s sin affects his wife, his children, his employer, his employees, his co-workers; it affects everyone in his sphere of influence.
That would include having a negative effect on a person’s church. Hidden sin always brings discouragement and defeat to God’s people (7:5-9). Public sin obviously does, but we mistakenly think that hidden sin, because of its secrecy (it is not that secret), has little to no effect. That is stinking thinking.
Hidden sins lead to a deterioration of character that affects those around you, either directly or indirectly. They reduce the ring of truth in what we say and do. I may say the right things. I may outwardly do the right things in front of the “right people.” But if inwardly I am a bigot, a thief, a gossip, a judge of others, then who I am suffers a reduction of authenticity which will not only hurt me but others also. Hidden sins, far more than public ones, will damage and sink a church. By the way, hidden sins of the parents (especially the father) are often magnified in their children. How we live inwardly brings victory and enthusiasm or defeat and discouragement; not only to ourselves and our families but to our church as well.
Take an honest look at your life. Ask yourself, “Am I the Achan blocking God’s blessing in my family or in my church?” If so, do not mope about it. Do not leave. Instead, confess and forsake your sin (Pro. 28:13; 1 John 1:9). None of us are perfect, but we should be striving by God’s grace and power for that. To overcome the unintended developments of hidden sin, put God and others first, even in private decisions.