Jack’s mouth and cheeks were plastered with blue frosting. When his father noticed the mess, he casually asked, “Hey Jack, did you eat a cupcake?” Jack answered, “No.” Since the evidence indicated that Jack had, in fact, eaten the treat, his dad good-naturedly questioned him again. Jack continued to deny that he had eaten the cupcake . . . six more times!

This “sweet” story has a serious side. When God asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” (Genesis 4:9), Cain fired back, “I don’t know. . . . Am I my brother’s guardian?” Obviously, that wasn’t the point. Denying the truth never changes the truth. God knew that Cain had murdered his brother before He asked the question (Genesis 4:10).

Cain sinned by killing Abel but also by lying to God about what he’d done. Is it possible that refusing to acknowledge the sin in our lives creates a similar spiritual predicament? As John wrote, “If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar” (1 John 1:10). Denial can take many forms. Sometimes, we “reclassify” a wrong by refusing to call it sin. In our thinking, it becomes merely a less-than-perfect choice. And sometimes we deny sin by simply skipping over it during times of confession.

Cain’s life shows us that consequences may come whether or not we admit our sin to God. Because God knew the truth, He took away Cain’s job as a farmer and caused him to live as a nomad. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. By God’s providence, Cain received protection, was able to have a son, and founded a city (Genesis 4:15-17).

Let’s face it—God knows what’s going on in our lives whether we discuss it with Him or not. Yet He continues to reach out to us in grace and forgiveness.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 15:17–16:4