"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20
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Friday, April 5, 2013
* IT'S A BIG DEAL
Matthew 3:8 (NIV 1984) "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
My friend Beth Ladd sent me a response (from last week's post) I would like to share. Beth is a delightful woman who is grounded in Truth. Her response was insightful. I will piggy back off last week and make this part two. If you haven't yet read last week's post, please take a moment to do so in order to understand today's context.
"Hester, I thought of another application from your flood experience. When something goes wrong it takes a lot longer to clean up the mess than we think . . . Sin impacts in a ripple effect, and not just the primary recipients. From the floor of the laundry, to the carpet, to the towels becoming mops, to the multitude of hands needed for clean-up, so goes the spiritual analogy of what the Bible calls the fruit of repentance. When we make repairs to the relationships we damage because of our sin, we need to remember that the mess we made takes a lot longer to clean up than it did to make it!! In addition, the ripple effect of sin is much broader than ground zero.
Many in our culture today short circuit the process of true repentance and forgiveness because they want immediate cures and are blind to the layers of impact on many more people than they are willing to admit. The carnality of our culture has calloused us to the damage of sin in our lives. When our washers overflow with damaging selfishness . . . we sweep in under the rug instead of turning towels into mops and getting down on our knees to work until the fruit of repentance is complete. Jesus calls it the log and speck syndrome."
This is so true. We often neglect to realize the affect our sin has on others. Our culture says, Hey, it's no big deal.This is so minor. Don't worry about it. Thus begins the process of justification and tolerance. We would like to think our sin only impacts us and that we can keep it private. We forget the consequences of our sin often damage our relationships with others and with God.
Achan's sin caused 36 of Israel's men to be destroyed by the Amorites. Ultimately, his sin cost him his life and his family's life. (Joshua 7)
King David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by putting her husband Uriah on the front lines of battle. After being confronted by Nathan he confessed. David and his family suffered the consequences of his sin (2 Samuel 11 & 12). Psalm 51 records his lament and repentance.
Korah and his men sinned by creating a rebellion against Moses and by treating the Lord with contempt. Their sin cost them their lives when the earth opened and swallowed them, their households and their possessions. (Numbers 16)
When Peter recognized his sin he went outside and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)
Sure, sin can be "private and public," but the results of each are tantamount. We can hide in our homes and participate with scandalous internet sites. We can fantasize about a different life, hold grudges and withhold forgiveness. Or we can openly make cutting remarks to our husband, blow up at our n-laws, verbally blame others for our poor choices, and gossip, I mean "share," with our girlfriends. Public and private sin cause the same internal damage and external disaster. Internally, cherished sin is a recipe for turmoil within. Outwardly, those we love are often hurt by our selfish choices. Our sin affects others, infects us and leaves a lasting effect. We cannot ignore this fact.
Without recognition of sin, repentance won't occur. Accepting our transgressions, no matter how big or small, as rebellion against God, enables us to make things right with Him and those we offend. We must take responsibility for our part by humbling ourselves and seeking restoration with the Lord and others when warranted.
The fruit of repentance is a changed heart and results in renewed living and stable peace. Where sin is present, strife resides. Where repentance is practiced, peace reigns. Forgiveness is equally important because, it too, brings healing by realigning our relationship with God and aiding the process of restoration between individuals.
Just two days ago I was forced to address sin in my heart. For awhile, I have nursed private thoughts regarding a situation I wrestle to accept. I have justified multiple reasons why I have every right to disagree, which has caused a stubborn refusal of my surrender to release the control my flesh would like to hold onto. I don't like this internal struggle. One moment I would be fine and the next, my emotions would go off a cliff into the sea of worry and 'what-if' land. I finally realized this was causing me to lack confidence in God. I repented and sought His forgiveness and asked Him to change my heart in this situation, even though I may grapple to agree with the circumstance. But, there is now peace where frustration was, and He is definitely asking me to dive in the deep end of faith while trusting His sovereignty as this scenario plays out. Without my repentance my spiritual growth would be impeded because I need to continually submit and get off "Hester's Throne." Sin is no small deal, it's a big deal. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have required such an immense price to redeem. Willingness to repair the devastation of our sin, whether public or private, is a mark of spiritual maturity. As our washers overflow with injurious sin, as Beth said, instead of sweeping it under the rug, let's get on our knees and work until the fruit of repentance is complete.
*Beth Ladd is the founder and director of "Be Still Retreats." If you would like more information regarding BSR please visit her website: Be Still Retreat
Read King's David account in Psalm 32:1-5. Carefully notice verses 1-2, compared to verses 3-5. What were the results of his cherished sin? What results have you experienced when you have covered your sin? Ask God to reveal the ruin your sin causes. Maybe there is something you fail to see. Acknowledge your sin for what it is. Repent. Seek restoration of any relationships in need of mending.
How quick are you to take responsibility and apologize when you've wronged another? How prompt are you to seek God's forgiveness? How does sin cause damage to relationships?
Who do you need to forgive who has sinned against you?
Heart Transforming Word:
Psalm 66:17-19 "I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer." (NIV 1984) Psalm 38:18 "I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin." 1 Corinthians 5:6 (NLT) "Don't you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?"
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NIV 1984) "Yet now I am happy, because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
Luke 17:4 "If your brother sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."
Luke 24:47 "Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations."
Acts 26:20 "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. Edited 2013. All rights reserved.