"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah."
The news is abuzz these days over website hackers releasing the names of millions who were registered members of the adultery website, Ashley Madison. This organization promoted, glorified, and assisted people (for a fee) in committing the terrible sin of adultery. Obviously, secrecy was paramount to their business. Yet, sin is never done in secret because "the eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3). When the names were shared with the world, the results weren't pretty. Reportedly, some men took their own lives in response to their sexual sin becoming public record. How tragic!
BUSTED AND IN TOTAL DESPAIR
To be sure, sin is sin ... but sexual sin carries with it an added measure of embarrassment, sliminess, and shame. 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us, "Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body." When a person is caught up in sexual sin, and that person happens to be a Christian, he or she feels a weight of guilt and self-loathing that is unsurpassed. And when the world learns of what they have done, the humiliation and shame go through the roof.
Tullian Tchividjian, the defrocked pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, recently experienced this shame when he confessed to having an affair. He remarked, "I could never really fully understand why people would take their own lives ... I for the first time understand why. I get the desperation, I get the despair in a way that I never have."
Judas was one overcome with guilt and shame. He did not commit a sexual sin, but a spiritual one. He committed the worst sin ever by selling out the Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. When the weight of his sin crushed through his hardened heart, he responded by hanging himself. Trying to escape the hell within him, he stepped into the hell before him as he took his own life and sealed his doom. While we can certainly understand the guilt that engulfed his heart, we know that suicide is never the right response, even when it comes to the worst of sins.
GOD'S WORD TO THE BUSTED
So what is a person who gets busted for a terrible, horrible, shameful sin supposed to do? God tells us exactly what to do to turn our terrible mess into a tremendous message that exalts the grace of God.
1. Don't cover it up, own it! When Nathan the prophet confronted David over his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, David didn't try to deny and reflect. He didn't go on national TV and deceitfully say, "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Bathsheba." On the contrary, he cried out in brokenness, "I have sinned against the LORD" (2 Samuel 12:13). Remember, if you've blown it, own it! God sees the real score.
2. Don't sweep it under the rug, fully and humbly repent! David was a great sinner, but he was also a great "repenter." He fully acknowledged his sin to the LORD. He did not try to hide the evil which God so clearly saw. He got it out of the shadows and into the light. He humbly confessed his sin and repented and turned away from it.
3. Don't believe the lies, believe the truth. When you and I sin in a big way, we can easily feel like Hester Prynne in the classic Hawthorne novel, The Scarlet Letter. We let the devil put a big red "A" on our chests. Everywhere we go, we feel guilty and condemned over what we have done. We confess the same sin hundreds and thousands of times, hoping against hope that the guilt will supernaturally subside. Newsflash: it takes faith to deal properly with sin. It takes you and me believing God, believing He will forgive if we confess and repent. Acts 10:15 says, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." David boldly declared, "You forgave the guilt of my sin" (Psalm 32:5). We don't have to live in guilt and condemnation over past failures. If we will simply come to Him in brokenness and humility, He will be faithful to forgive, completely and fully (see Luke 7:50, Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9).
Have you been busted recently? Have you felt the weight of your sin crashing in upon you? Are you in despair over your own wretchedness? Go to Jesus. He is a friend of sinners. He loves us even in the depths of our sin. His blood can wash you white as snow. Don't live another moment in guilt and shame. The Lord's loving, nail-scarred hand is stretched out to you. Take it while there is still time. You'll be so glad you did.
I wrote a booklet called Not Guilty to help you better understand your guilt and God's wonderful Grace. I hope you'll download a Free Copy now.
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. I'd love to know what you think about this issue. Click here to share your thoughts or comments.
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
DESCRIPTION: Wars, terrorism, earthquakes, famines, floods, rapid technological advancements, a falling away from the true faith… what in the world is going on? What is coming next? Is the end really drawing near, and if so, what does it look like? In this frank and powerful series, Dr. Jeff Schreve shares biblical insights concerning the present age and the not too distant future.