I once had a conversation with a friend and co-worker about Jesus and forgiveness. He could not believe that God would forgive him for sleeping with his best friends wife. He was overwhelmed with guilt.
I tried to tell him that God forgives all and every and any sin. It fell on deaf ears.
A while ago a Christian brother and I prayed with a man who admitted to rape and murder. He too was so overcome by guilt he could not receive our prayers or God’s forgiveness. I didn’t know whether to turn him in or what. Apparently he “got away with it”.
I am a firm believer that justice does and will prevail no matter what. No one, no where, ever “gets away with it”. The guilty may be out of prison or jail but they are constantly being hounded and tormented by they weight of their guilt. We reap what we sow.
I am reminded of the movie The Machinist with Christian Bale. What an amazing film. Christian Bale starved himself (read more) in preparing for his role as an insomniac, emaciated, delusional character who as it turns out SPOILER ALERT!!! (skip to next paragraph if you want to watch this for yourself!) is haunted by a suppressed memory of a crime he had committed. He finally turns himself in and finds some peace.
I once met a man in the Spokane homeless shelter. He had been on the run for years all over the country and lived as a nameless homeless man. He too was haunted by his past and guilt over something he had done which led to a warrant for his arrest being issued in Spokane. He was back in town to after all these years turn himself in. Jesus had done a marvelous work in his life and he had finally found peace and was ready to face the consequences for his actions.
He turned himself in and to his complete surprise, they could find no record of him committing a crime and no record of his warrant. He was free to go. I saw him shortly after that and didn’t recognize him at all. He had a beaming smile and a new lease on life.
I often wonder what would have happened if King David, instead of trying to hide his adultery and have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed, if he instead confessed his sin to his friend Uriah and begged his forgiveness. Would Uriah have tried to kill him in a rage? If it were me I might have. No doubt this was a very real fear for David as he weighed his options.
Instead of repenting, he chose to compound his sin and guilt… and still God forgave him. There were serious consequences that plagued him the rest of his days however, but he was forgiven and embraced back into sweet fellowship with God.
After his repentance the baby died. After David’s moral failure the enemy had access to his family in the area of sexual deviance. His son Amnon raped his sister Tamar and destroyed her life. Another brother Absalom then kills Amnon and later tries to seize the throne. To incite the people to join him and to convince them how serious he was in his rebellion to his father David, Absalom publicly sleeps with several of Davids concubines.
These are the kinds of consequences that David suffers for his moment of passion with another man’s wife and his subsequent cover up. We don’t actually “get away” with anything. We reap what we sow. Our sin will affect our children and our children’s children and everyone else around us. Your sin becomes part of your legacy. This is how you affected the world and you have to live with that. But you can change your legacy! Your sin can be forgiven and forgotten for all eternity!
David was forgiven. He changed his legacy. As all the consequences for his sin unfolded in his life, he enjoyed the wonderful bliss of a reconciled relationship with God (who is love) as soon as he repented. But… not a moment sooner.
If any of us want to enjoy the awesome friendship of God as some of the consequences for our sin continue to play out, then we must repent. If we’d rather be miserable and alone as our sin wreaks its havoc and continue to compound our sin and our guilt and our agony, eventually leading to its horrifying abysmal end, then don’t repent. These are the only two options.
Unfortunately the default is the latter option… to do nothing. You actually must take action to repent. To not repent requires no action on your part whatsoever. Put on another movie and distract yourself until your dead. Another misspent life down the toilet bowl of the universe. Forgive me for being feces-ish I mean facetious.
Our sin is serious. So serious that Jesus actually had to die an agonizing death on a cross and most of all suffer the rejection of his Father and bear all the righteous wrath of God for sin on the blackest day ever to repair the rift and discord in the universe that our sin has caused. Our sin will also cause you to miss our purpose, mainly to be loved and then to love others and whatever else it is that God had foreordained for us to accomplish in our short time here. We are, after all, his masterpiece created for good works. We get to repent! You get to repent! God is granting us the privilege of repenting from that which causes us harm! AWESOME!!!
Repentance means having a change of mind. It is taking on a whole new paradigm for how to view reality through God’s eyes. Have a change of mind about who God is, and change your mind about sin. It involves leaving sin (your idols) and coming to Christ. It means to stop trying to be your own god and submit to the only true God who is love. Just think, we get to surrender to love!
“And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.” Luke 24:46-48 NLT
So yes, God will forgive you for anything but you must repent. What do you need to repent of? What do you need to turn yourself in for to God (or even to the authorities)? Take it to the LORD. David gave us a wonderful glimpse into the prayer he prayed to get right with God. He encourages us to learn from his example and use his prayer as our own:
New Living Translation (NLT)
A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Some really serious sinners have found grace and redemption in Jesus Christ. No, you haven’t out-sinned God’s grace because, “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds”. Grace is always shown to be greater. Its his trump card. You played your hand of rebellion and sin and you thought you had him beat. He plays the grace card and wins… your heart.
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