I don’t want God to see them because I’m not sure that I want to give them up. Sin is so a part of us that we fear it might feel like losing an arm if we were freed of it.
I wonder if this is what Jesus is talking about elsewhere in the Gospels where he tells us to cut off an arm or gouge out an eye rather than letting the sin consume and kill us. This painful, messy analogy is revisited in our Gospel lesson this morning; when Jesus visits the temple, we learn two things about the way that God cleanses and the way that he brings dying things back to life.
First, when Jesus comes to clean, it hurts. When I was little, I remember this story making me uncomfortable, because it seemed like Jesus was yelling and losing his temper, flipping tables, throwing out animals. And in that flipping-over-of-tables, in that throwing-animals-out, Jesus makes quite a mess. In the Gospel passage, the animals stampede out of their stalls, coins are scattered all over the ground, tables lie in shards, bird cages are smashed. It’s a total ruin.