The Iceberg Principle

As little as one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the water. Most of the mass of an iceberg lies below the water’s surface. This is an important principle.

On the negative side, people can hide a lot of wickedness from their family and church in their heart and actions through deception. Matthew 15:19-20 says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Once I, as a preacher, find out about what they’ve done, there’s almost always a lot never revealed under the surface. Instead of confession and repentance, many people will regrettably take their secrets to the grave.

On the positive side, there’s also people that we don’t know how deep their goodness goes because of the iceberg principle. Matthew 6:3 says, “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” The good works of Dorcas probably followed the iceberg principle (Acts 9:29). The Pharisees chose public places to show off their charities. Their delight was “to be glorified by men”; that God might be glorified was not their concern.

Remember that when you see wickedness in people’s lives, there’s sadly almost always more to it. But when you see good in Christians, they’re probably doing lot more than anyone ever realized.

Kyle Campbell