The Pathway of Sin and the Road to Forgiveness
Sin always leaves behind a path of destruction and grief. I know in this modern world of “correctness” the word sin is not part of man’s daily word skills, but the reality of the effects of sin does not change its behavior just to line up with our new thinking patterns. It is one thing to live a life of absolute isolation but the problem is our sins never stay entirely in our own backyard.
If I could fly away to some remote place or if I could find a place far away in the remote areas of Eastern Washington State or along the Idaho/Montana border it might be tempting to disappear. But wherever I go I still have my own nature to make my life miserable. It is not the other person that is the problem but I have learned that I am my worst enemy. This is why the Cross of Jesus is a continuing source of cleansing and forgiveness.
No more can I live by my own wants and wishes. I understand this now. It is not about me but it is about walking the road of obedience to the “will of God” that He has set before me to walk on. Hurts and pain can throw a real curve ball at us. So how do I deal with those kinds of issues? Do I build a wall around my inner man? Do I develop a strong shell to keep out anyone who might try to invade my space? This might be a method for a survivor mentality but it can also be a downfall as well. A lot of peace is missing in the life of those who are hard and callous because they no longer are open to letting down their defenses because that is not the “cool” thing to do.
Sin has a way of reaching out and afflicting others, especially loved ones. So when we come around to repenting and experiencing forgiveness by a loving and compassionate God we still have a certain duty to confront others and ask them to forgive us for our past, which is not always an easy thing to do. There were a few times I went into non-Christian camps in an attempt to make things right and I also knew that in doing so I was putting down my defenses and opening myself up to whatever wrath (if any) might come my way.
To put things in perspective, I do not seek forgiveness from others in order to attain forgiveness from God because if my relationship with Jesus is on the right page then I know that I have already been forgiven. So then it is my right standing before the Lord that becomes an issue but there are other elements that are at play and are just as important if not more so because the eternal destiny of others just might be at stake. As believers we need to reach out from our comfort zones, being not afraid of touching areas that can be emotionally explosive.
So what about those who might benefit from my confession of previous wrongs? Do I accept the attitude that since I am forgiven, that I am no longer duty bound to seek forgiveness from those in whom I caused much pain and suffering? Doesn’t it say in the Word that He buries our transgressions in the deepest sea to be remembered no more? Doesn’t it also say that if any man be in Christ that he is a new creature and that all things have become new? Since it says that then why should I dig up the past and be remorseful all over again? That is all fine and dandy but there is one element that can get in the way of that perfect (eye to eye) communication between two or more individuals, that thing is called the “conscience.” God created us with a conscience and that conscience is one of the tools that are open to the voice of God which brings conviction to our hearts in things that are displeasing to Him.
The thing is, there are past issues that need to be addressed in a head on sort of way in order for the Lord to free us up from the effects of previous things. This is where the going gets rough because by my own nature (for example) it is much easier to take the road of least resistance when it comes to being confrontational. I would much rather avoid difficult encounters than to have to address the raw emotions that can stir up all kinds of trouble all over again.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (KJV)
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13 (KJV)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 (KJV)
There are two ways to apply scripture in our lives. One way is by taking the Word out of context to justify one’s position. The other way (the best way) is to properly apply the Word and submit to its authority according to how God is speaking to my heart about what I need to do. This is not about salvation by works but it is about being obedient to the “will of God” and seeing the fruit of my obedience develop as I go from point A to point B.
Confession and forgiveness work together to bring about freedom. There is freedom in forgiveness. Some folks are saved and on their way to heaven yet inside of them there remains a certain need in their life to deal with an issue that has been swept under the rug. This is why it is so important to walk in the light as the scripture tells us to.
After God speaks to me about some issue, from that point on I am duty bound to make things right. There is no more room or time to put things off for a more convenient time. Once the Lord speaks to my heart about a matter then it becomes an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved. It is one thing to be aware of a problem yet another thing to deal with whatever it is in order to bring about a conclusion that is long lasting. I have seen others who deal with their problems through their own means and God to them is not a part of that means. If anyone is going to get any credit for problem solving around here it will be me and me alone! That’s okay because God does not interfere where He is not wanted. As for me I learned a long time ago that I cannot solve life’s problems by giving God the “brush off.” I would rather walk throughout this life maintaining a dependency upon my Creator than go forth “full speed ahead” within my own stiff-necked ways.
I am a believer in “inner healing” for I have experienced inner healing within my own life and I have heard others testify along those lines too. Much of our mental makeup and our emotional wellbeing hinges on our inner mind and if one is messed up by some event that has taken place somewhere in the past that particular event can transform the entire picture of a person’s life from then on. There are burdens that God has never intended for us to carry all by ourselves. No amount of time spent at a psychologist can undo the damage, at best all we can do is take the doctors counsel and limp our way through life just trying to do the best we can with what we have to work with.
I know of a woman who had a Dad that was abusive in a sexual way. He even was this way to his own daughters. The hardest thing for this woman to do was to deal with her Dad over this. After wrestling with the Lord about how He was speaking to her heart she finally stepped up to the plate and confronted Him. (For what it is worth, let me throw in a bit of caution. As a believer before confronting another situation make it an intense matter of prayer because emotions can get out of control real easy!) Besides letting him know that she was aware of his problem she said that she forgave him. By offering forgiveness to the one who sinned against her and violated her, she herself experienced a freedom and a release from all the garbage that this kind of thing does to another person. In offering forgiveness she opened the door to a healing that was a long time coming. This is why forgiveness is so important because sin has far reaching effects that can be a bondage that holds one tight in its jaws. Could this be a huge part of what Jesus was referring to when he said this?
“For if you forgive men their offenses against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you also; but if you do not forgive men your offenses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your offenses.” Matt 6:14-15 (Montgomery New Testament)
Does that mean then that when someone does something to me I am just so to smile and act as if all is okay? I don’t do that in my life when it comes to those who attack me but I do depend on the Lord to give me the grace and the wisdom to deal with each situation in the proper way. One thing that is important to consider is found in the Bible.
Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay.’ Romans 12:19 (Phillip New Testament)
It is so easy to react in a violent way when someone sticks a knife of ridicule or sarcasm into the deepest area of one’s protective covering. No one is immune from the jabs of embarrassment by what might be said against them. As a real life example I remember a story told to me by a young girl who was around thirteen or so. She had a “crush” on a boy at her school. Well the boy apparently did not have the same feelings towards her as she had towards him. One day he walked right up to her in the crowded hallway between school classes. He got right in her face and blasted her with these very flammable words.:
“You ugly pimple faced #*# brat, stay away from me!”
She was a believer in her Lord but still the words of this fellow sent her home crying. Her mom spent the rest of the afternoon trying to comfort her over this cruel and hurtful situation. The next day she went back to school but the scar was still very much so raw inside of her.
“Vengeance is mine says the Lord.” Within a short period of time the boy contracted the worse face of pimples within perhaps the whole school. The Lord stepped in and took charge of the situation. The point is we are to step back and leave our hands off the throats of them whom we would love to choke. In taking matters into our own hands, we rob God of fulfilling his role of vengeance. Yes, we are to love our enemies and do good to them that do us wrong. However, I don’t want to take away from scripture other areas that are just as important to live by. The vengeance scenario has its place within the walk of the believer and needs to be honored as well. It is hard though because the normal thing to do when a person gets hit is to hit back in retaliation.
I heard folks say. “I can forgive but no way will I forget!” I am glad that God does not follow me around with a clipboard keeping a running record of my sins so that He will always have them close by just in case He needs to be reminded of the many things I have done. It is from that scripture that I can make mention of my sins (along with the clipboard) being tossed into the sea of forgetfulness never to resurface again.
Many years ago now even though it only seems like yesterday, I was driving to my worksite when the Lord began to speak to my heart. Prior to Him speaking to me I was clueless as to what He revealed, but the Lord is all powerful and all discerning into the things that make me the person that I am. He began to reveal to me that within me were layers upon layers of scar tissue that needed to be removed in order for a more better and complete healing to take place.
Not long after that memories began to come to the surface of my heart. Things that were unpleasant, which over a period of time I had forgotten about. But the truth of the matter was these things were still inside of me. The Lord turned on the search light to my soul and those things that were painful were like so many scabs over a lifetime of wounds. So I went through the process of having the Lord remove these improper healings. In his love for me to walk more in that better “light” as a vessel of His love I had to go through this experience. It was not easy but in the end the Lord had my best interest involved. We do God a hurtful disservice when we resist His work in us. He is not being mean-spirited or cruel but instead He is performing operations within us to prune us back to a better fruit bearing tree.
Just recently I heard a friend say this about forgiveness. “The hardest part about forgiveness is not based on the ugliness directed at us from others but the hardest act of forgiveness is found in forgiving myself.” The point is that Jesus died for the express purpose of making forgiveness available to any and all that are willing to take God up on His offer of eternal life and the joys of living within eternal bliss. As good as that is yet when it comes to forgiving me for the things inside of me that is a tough one to do. Yet in order to walk in newness of life and hold my head above the condemnation of the past I must come to a place where I wave good-bye to my yesterdays and look straight ahead with renewed zeal for the things of God. I have learned that this policy is a good formula for entering into a victorious life.
The Pathway to Sin and the Road to Forgiveness
The Pathway of Sin and the Road to Forgiveness