Sin is not a popular topic to think about and talk about. From a leadership perspective, too many leaders disqualify themselves due to sin of various kinds. Too many leaders think that what they do in private has no effect in their leadership responsibilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. King David is a classic example of this. Pastor Brad Jenkins of Anthem Church in Tulsa has some excellent insight on the collateral damage of sin from the life of David.
Originally published by Brad Jenkins
The topics of sin and repentance are out of vogue in the church today. I think that is a big mistake. The Bible is incredibly focused, from cover to cover, on the reality of sin and the need for forgiveness. Sadly, when Christians neglect the dangers of sin, we do so at our peril.
Three thousand years ago, King David’s army went to war, and he stayed behind. The consequences were disastrous.
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her…The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” (2 Samuel 11:1-5)
David let his guard down and became intoxicated with sin.
It could happen to any of us.
I believe that is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6). If it can happen to a man after God’s own heart, it could happen to me. We are all susceptible to temptation.
What makes David’s story so vivid are its sad consequences. It begins with Bathsheba announcing that she is pregnant. But, the impact of David’s sin got increasingly severe from there. What started as the sin of adultery grew into an elaborate plan to deceive Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. From there, David gave into the worst of human nature and pursued a series of premeditated steps that led to murder. He would have never expected that human lust would lead to murder, but that is precisely where sin led him.
Some time ago, I heard someone say,
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
will keep you longer than you want to stay,
and will cost you more than you want to pay.”
I believe that is more true than we realize. If we could see where “small” sins would lead, I doubt many of us would take the bait.
The problem is that sin makes us promises it cannot keep. It whispers to us about how it will bring us happiness (it can’t), about how it won’t actually hurt anyone (it will), and about how it’s not actually a big deal (it is).
One moment of passion cost David his reputation, Bathsheba her marriage, and Uriah his very life. The cost to David is understandable. But what about Uriah? What wrong had he committed that was deserving of death? In fact, Uriah acted rightly at every step, and the sin of David still brought death. Sadly, the damage extended to the entire company of soldiers around Uriah, who lost their lives due to David’s sin. The consequences of David’s sin continued for generations – children died, the kingdom was in turmoil, and his own sons rose up against him.
The saddest thing about sin is that it causes collateral damage. It hurts people that aren’t involved. It brings death to relationships that are unaware. And it impacts our future in unforeseen ways. Truthfully, the consequences of sin always exceed our expectations.
Reimagine the story of David and Bathsheba with me for a minute. What if David had committed the same act of adultery with Bathsheba but immediately confessed his sin? The damage would have inflicted heartache on a family and damaged his reputation, but it would have been limited. No one would have died. The collateral damage would have been minimized. In retrospect, David would have gladly taken that option over the one he chose.
This brings me to one of my biggest takeaways from this story: the speed of your repentance matters.
If you find yourself in sin, repent as fast as possible. It will minimize the collateral damage. Fewer people will be hurt. Fewer regrets will pile up. Fewer consequences will come to you and your loved ones.
The faster you and I repent, the better.
I wish I could say that most stories I hear are of quick repentance. Unfortunately, they are not. Usually, someone ignores the small voice of conviction about a topic until it has grown into a significant issue. It is at that point that they get serious about seeking help. Sadly, the damage has spread, and the consequences are far-reaching.
This is why God gave us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit serves to convict us of sin and leads us into righteousness. Why? God convicts us so that He can free us. He knows sin will entangle our future, and He doesn’t want us to be burdened. He wants us to be free. And he uses conviction to help us avoid the collateral damage of sin. So, invite the Spirit of God into your story and thank him for pointing out the hidden places of sin in your heart. It is an act of His love for you.
If you find yourself dabbling with sin, get on your knees and ask God for forgiveness immediately. Don’t delay. The faster you repent, the quicker you’ll recover. Do it. Now.
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