Sin Leaves Scars and God Loves Us Anyway

The Penance of David, Psalm 51

There is a medical condition that causes the skin and other soft tissue to shrink and harden.  It is called Scleraderma.  Like scar tissue, the skin draws tight and thick and hard.  Sin is like that in our life.  We are born as sinners, and the longer we live, and the longer we remain subject to sin, the more damage it does in our life.

We are not only subject to our own sins, but often are victims of the sin of others.  From sexual abuse, to violence and crime, the damage accumulates.  One only has to look around at the pain and suffering and the evil in this world, to realize this is true.

But God did not intend for us to live this way.  And He did something that makes a way for us to escape the cycle of sin and damage and harm.  Jesus, God’s only son, who never sinned, came here and he lived as a fully human being, facing the same sinful temptations we do, yet He did not sin.  He then shed His blood on the cross to make atonement for all the sin of this world, so that we could be reconciled with God, whereas before, our sin created a divide between us and our Creator, Christ became a bridge by which we could again draw near to God.

When we acknowledge God, and admit to ourselves and Him, that we are lost and floundering in sin in this life, when we admit to ourselves that nothing really makes any sense unless there is Someone greater than us, Someone in charge, and we admit that we have rebelled against Him, wanting to be our own “god”; when we admit that we are sinful and evil, and come to Him humbly and ask for salvation, He doesn’t just “clean us up” or fix us.  He literally births new life in us.  “Unless a man be born again, He cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven”.

When we are born again, all the past wrongs on our balance sheet, are wiped away.  Yet the consequences don’t go away with them.  There are still those scars.

David was a lowly shepherd, but He had great faith in God.  He understood that He was just a small and weak human being, and yet he also understood God is a great and mighty God.  By that faith he slayed the giant Goliath, was anointed by God’s priest Samuel, to be the King over all of Israel, and was known as “A man after God’s own heart”, and yet he sinned grievously against the Lord in polygamy, in adultery, and in murder.  And yet when God confronted him, he was humble.  He did not try to make excuses.  He confessed and repented.  You can read David’s confession and repentance in Psalm 51.

Even though he repented, there were waves and waves of consequences that continued to wash over David’s life thereafter.  When we read about David we sometimes have a hard time understanding how such an upstanding “man after God’s own heart” suddenly fell so far and so hard one day.   But the truth is, our sin is never sudden.  There is always a progression.  It generally starts with a small compromise, and goes from there.  As David was blessed more and more by God, he became comfortable and complacent and took for granted God’s favor.  It was the custom of his time and culture, for kingdoms to expand and alliances to be made via marriages between kingdoms.  Though polygamy was clearly forbidden by God, David went along with this worldly custom.  How often do we do that?  Because something is so “common” and no longer taboo by cultural standards, we make the mistake of thinking God has lowered His standards.  That never happens.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

David got into a habit of collecting wives.  It is doubtful he just walked out on that roof one day and decided he had to have Bath-Sheba.  Probably he inadvertently discovered her routine of rooftop bathing and “just so happened” to amble up to the rooftop about that time each day to indulge in a little voyeurism.  Lust took root, and having been so lavishly blessed by God, David made the grave mistake of thinking maybe he was somehow an exception to God’s rules.  Regardless, he was obviously willing to take the chance.

Lustful thoughts gave birth to sinful deeds.  As we know, David committed adultery with Bath-Sheba and then had her husband Uriah purposely sent into the heat of battle where David knew he would be killed.  A child was born out of the union, but God did not allow the child to live.

After David’s fall from grace, he was never able to discipline his own sons, knowing he himself had failed to toe the line.  As a result, his son Amnon rapes his own sister Tamar.  As David had Uriah killed, so Absalon murders Amnon.  And on and on sin’s ripples and repercussions spread.  More damage, more scars.

That is what sin does in this world.  It is viral.  It is deadly.  It causes damage, decay, and death.

We often think of God as a spoil-sport up in the sky who just doesn’t want us to have any fun.  We fail to understand that the “thou shalt not”s are for the purpose of sparing us that pain and suffering and heartache.  God is so wise and loving.  When we were kids we often didn’t understand the dangers of things we did, and were mad or disappointed when mom or dad said “no, don’t do that”.   But they knew things we didn’t know.  And so, certainly, does God.

God’s way is always the better way.  Yet so many people are not even willing to consider trying life “God’s way”.

When you get saved, you start a new life.  You are no longer in it all alone.  Being reconciled with the One who created you, now you have a Heavenly Father and in a lot of ways, “the buck no longer stops at you”.  I don’t know about you, but being the grown up, the parent, the one in charge, the one with all the responsibility, gets to be kind of heavy sometimes for me.  It is a great comfort to know that there is Someone else in charge, and over me.

The Christian life is not easy in this world.  It requires swimming against the tide, taking unpopular stands, denying the flesh.  But because God is merciful and gracious, it is so good to know that even when we mess up, and we can mess up pretty bad, God is able to work all things together for Good.  That is something we can never do.

I don’t know about you, but I am glad there is a God and I’m not him.  I know there are people in this world who want nothing more than to be “in charge”.  But when you really have those responsibilities on your shoulders you soon learn it’s not as fun as you thought it would be.  Because it means huge responsibility.  Pressure.  Demands.

At the end of the day I am happy knowing that God is over all and He is big enough and smart enough to fix what I screw up or make something good out of the worst messes I am capable of making, and believe you me, I can make some real doozies!

I thank God for His Word and the testimony of a very real man named David and that God didn’t exclude David’s failures when He wrote the Bible.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for loving us, and for your gift of Salvation.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying for such a hopeless sinner as me.  I don’t know what You see in me that You loved me that much, but I thank You, Lord and I can’t help but love You for loving me that much.

God you are an awesome Father.  Praise the name of Jesus!

(Originally posted March 31, 2012)

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