HOW CAN WE FIND SINS IN OUR HEARTS IF THEY ARE HIDDEN?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal, and He will do so as much as it is within God’s purpose for your life.  But keep on asking WITH ALL YOUR HEART.  When something gives us painful feelings, or traumatic feelings, or fear feelings, or it makes us angry, or if we don’t like a person, ASK Father to show us why we feel that?  These feelings are His way of bringing memories back that can help us to forgive as yet.  But to listen then to the Holy Spirit takes courage as it may be very painful to face the memory of what happened in the past.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-5:
"Judge not, so that you will not be judged.  For when you judge someone, you will be judged; and for what you judge a person, you end up doing it yourself also.  Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider that you have a plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”

Answer these Questions:

  • Why do I notice a little speck in someone else’s eye while I have a plank?
  • What does it mean that “I reap what I sow”?
  • Do I end up doing what I judged someone else for?
  • Do I remember things about myself when I see them in another?
  • Can I easily find memories back of old unforgiven hurts?
  • Who knows my heart best?
  • Can God reveal the bitter parts of my heart?

We can help others with something once we ourselves are healed from that problem.  If we want a cleaner heart with less bitterness and malice, but do not cooperate with God’s cleaning of our heart, we will keep on doing the bad things that we judged others for.  Some of those things are so bad that we end up causing a lot of people to get hurt and spiritually made dirty.
Hebrews 12:14-15 says:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and that because of it many people become defiled.
Can we clean our own heart?  I don’t think so.  Actually, do we even know what unforgiveness from our past we have hidden from our memory.  God speaks to us through the prophet Jeremiah 17:9-10:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?  I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of what he does.
As we are healed from old painful wounds by forgiving the person who hurt us in our past, we become cleaner inside and can learn to love such a person, and others who remind us of our wound.  We can then also begin to love God more.  
Jesus said in Matt 18:3-4: “Unless you are changed and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Apostle John wrote in his first letter 1 John 4:7-11:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was shown to us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to take away our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
In 1 John 4:20-21 we read:
“If someone says: ‘I love God’, but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Questions to Discuss:

  • Can we love God if we cannot love our family and neighbors?
  • Is it possible that I am a better person than someone else?
  • Can we love God and people without giving?

If I do not know what bad wounds my heart holds, how can my heart then be cleaned, healed?  King David was a beautiful example for us almost 3000 years ago as he wrote Psalm 51.  He had fallen for a beautiful young married lady, even though he already had a number of wives.  King David did not know all of God’s laws anymore, and that he should have only one wife.  If we do not know God’s will for our life, how then can we please Him all the way.  Today that is becoming a lot easier; now you can even in prisons have the opportunity to study God’s Word in detail.  But King David lived in days with very little technical knowledge; few people could even read or write.  So how then could they learn what God’s will is?  David used to love God very much when he was a young shepherd boy; he once even had dared to trust God to help him kill a Philistine giant who had blasphemed the name of the God of Israel, and he had attacked that giant while he was yet just a young boy.  Amazing!  God had helped him indeed and slain the giant Goliath through the hand of David and so delivered His people Israel.  And over the years God had blessed David so often for his trust in Him; God even chose him to become king over His people.  Then David had, in the name of God, fought so many battles against the enemies of Israel, and God had given him victory until the kingdom was free of enemies and greatly enlarged.  David had not been able to handle such success like so many of us, and had claimed part of these successes as his own doing.  You see, pride always comes before the fall.  David in his arrogance had stopped giving God always the honor and glory for his blessings.  And then he began thinking that he had a right to do what other people are not allowed to do.  Now he looked at that young woman, and he had to have her too.  But she was the wife of one of his faithful officers in the army; so what? He had to have her.  And when the woman expected his baby he had her husband, a faithful officer of his army, killed so that he could marry her.  When God had confronted him, he finally broke down and cried out to God.  You see, David realized that he could not clean his own heart; he only had made a mess of it.  It was then that he wrote Psalm 51:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  Because I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight — That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.  Look, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Do you see that he has become a broken man?  When we come broken like that before our God, He never hides His face from us.  And now David asks God to do the healing work that he himself cannot do:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
Isn’t this amazing?  When God cleans our heart on our request, and we cooperate with His healing work, we finally can begin to bear fruit for Him and help sinners to come to God:
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and I shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.  For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.  The sacrifices unto God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.

Discuss these Questions:

  • Do I know what old bitterness is hidden in my heart?
  • How can I find out?
  • Who can reveal problems in my heart?
  • How can I be set free from my unforgiven issues?
  • Can pride hinder me from getting healed?
  • Is humility important?
  • Can we bring others to Jesus when we yet have deep wounds of our heart?

God calls King David “A man after His own heart”.  Isn’t it wonderful that our God can love so much a man who has sinned so severely?  David had even become a murderer.  But when he truly repented there was amazing merciful forgiveness available for him, and so God also wants to forgive you and me. This David wrote some beautifully Holy Spirit inspired Psalms.  Here are a few.  Psalm 23:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; because You are with me; Your shepherd’s rod and Your staff comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Questions to Discuss:

  • Is David here a humble man?  He calls God his Shepherd, so he is a sheep?
  • Do you notice that David talks about restoration, healing, of his soul?
  • Do you notice that God leads him into holiness?
  • Does David trust God?
  • Is this not a marvelous praising of God?  Praising God is healing for the soul.

The first part of Psalm 103:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.