Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: Forgiveness Series: How Hard Is It To Forgive Ourselves

Hey gang!

This is the other part of the forgiveness series that impacted people. I received several emails between June and now about how this article helped people get past their pain. Hearing these stories was such a blessing to me, making me wonder who got blessed more. It thrills me to hear people feeling encouraged and making Godly, positive moves in their lives. I hope this one blesses again in its second printing.

From June 11, 2009

Over the past couple weeks, we have been talking about forgiveness. We’ve shared a few areas where forgiveness is necessary, that we need to forgive God so he can love and bless us, and that we’ve all been wronged at one time or another. To scope out the rest of the series for you, because some of you have asked me where this all leads, we have a few more items in forgiveness to look at. Next week, we’ll be looking at forgiving others, asking for forgiveness and what do we do when we get it, or not.

Today, we are going to look at one story in the Bible to show us that we must forgive ourselves. While it may be easy to forgive others, especially when they love us, it is not so easy to turn that blessing inward. The old saying that we tend to be our own worst critic is true. For some reason, when God made us, we were made with a brain. The mind is like a tape recorder. It records everything, without tape and usually in conditions that are better than hi-def. So when we mess up, we can replay it back in our minds over and over. That is usually what paralyzes people.

I’ve talked about today’s story before and for a clearer picture than what I write, please look at 2 Samuel chapters 11-12. King David is considered one of the legends of the Bible, so much so that he is considered a man after God’s own heart. But David wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. Lots of them. We’re just going to look at one. King David was taking some time off of the battlefield and decided to hang out in his castle and admire all that he had. He went upon his rooftop to look around and saw a woman taking a bath. Instead of turning his head, he kept looking. He thought she was beautiful. So he sent a messenger to find out about her and found out that she was the wife of one of his top generals. He sent for her anyway and slept with her. You might ask, we’ll she should’ve protested. She didn’t have to do the act. I’ll make two comments to that. The Bible never says that she didn’t protest. She probably did. However, think for a moment that this guy was the king. Ruler of all he surveys. Yes, she sinned, but she was put in that situation by her king.

She ended up pregnant and instead of telling Uriah, David cooked up another scheme. Let’s put him in the front of the battle. Then, have the rest of the men pull back and he’ll be killed. And as Pinky Dinky Doo says, “That’s exactly what happened.” He then took Bathsheba as his own wife and then they had a son. David was happy and thought he had gotten away with it, but as you know, when you sin there are two that know the sin, you and God. God knew what happened and he had to get repentance from David.

So chapter 12 of 2 Samuel begins as Nathan, David’s trusted advisor came to see him. Rather than call David straight out, Nathan uses a parable. The parable upset David and he told Nathan that the person that did such a thing deserved to die. Nathan then shares that the man was David. He tells him the sin that he has committed has displeased God. David was caught and he knew it.

How many times does it happen to us that way? We think we get away with hurting someone and that it will just go away? How many times do we get creative to think of ways to make the situation disappear? We sin first, then try to hide the sin.

The third part of sin are the consequences. We want to avoid these no matter what. Nathan told David the first set of his consequences in verses 10-12. Nathan said that the Lord will never remove the sword from David’s house, meaning that people in his family will die the same way Uriah did. Nathan then reveals that someone before David’s eyes will take his wives and lay with them in broad daylight. What David had done in secret would be done to him in public. Welcome to the National Enquirer, King David.

The fourth part of sin is the repentance. David repented immediately asking God to forgive. Once we’re nailed, we do the same. We ask God to forgive us for messing up. God, whatever I did wrong, I’m sorry.

The fifth part of sin is God’s forgiveness. God forgives David, but Nathan has more bad news. More consequences. In verses 13-14, Nathan says, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” That’s heavy consequences.

The sixth part of sin is pleading with God not to deliver on the consequences. Oh please God, don’t make me have to do this or that. In David’s case, he spent days fasting and praying that God would spare the child. In verse 18, we learn that on the seventh day, the child dies.

The seventh and should be final part of sin is that we face the consequences. The son was not spared. At the end of verse 19, David realizes that his son is dead and he asks his servants to tell him. They do. The consequences have been served.

Verse 20 begins with David immediately washing himself, changing his clothes and going to the house of the Lord to worship. He then went home and ate for the first time in seven days. This confused his servants. They even asked why he fasted and wept as the child was alive and as the child lay dead, he got up and ate. David answered that he was hoping that the Lord would be gracious to spare the child, but once he was dead that there was no changing the mind of God.

This is where we struggle. David understood that the consequences had come. He went and worshipped a God that had been true to his word. David understood that the sin and its consequences were sealed. He worshipped and moved on.

I’m not saying, say a little prayer and forget about your sin. I am saying that David saw the sin and its consequences through. He realized that it was done. We tend to play the sin in our minds and stay in it. We lay on the ground and say, “Well, that’s all I can do. There is no future after this.” That’s the lie Satan wants us to believe with all our hearts.

David continued to reign as king for God. He still did the work that God gave him to do. He ran the country as king. Today, God wants you to get back up. He wants you to say, “Yes, I messed up.” But he also wants you to say, “My God has forgiven me for my sin.” Then he wants you to go back to work. He wants you to continue to strive to be the best Christian you can be. He wants his will to still be imposed and wants you to give everything to him. Let him carry the burden of your sin. Because he already carried it; At Calvary. He died on a cross one time for all sin and it is finished. As he told the woman caught in shame, Go and sin no more. Forgive yourself today. God does not want you to live to your death feeling as though you cannot recover from sin. You can. Let it begin today.

I love you guys!

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