The Effects of Sin and Forgiveness
By Fred Sigle
Some years ago, two TEENAGERS with a long history of CRIME and DELINQUENCY robbed a YMCA on the lowest East Side of New York City. On the way out they saw a young man at the TELEPHONE SWITCHBOARD. They were FRIGHTENED and ASSUMED that the must be calling the POLICE. They seized and beat him SAVAGELY with BRASS KNUCKLES and a BLACK JACK. Thinking that he was DEAD, they HID him BEHIND a RADIATOR near the SWIMMING POOL and ESCAPED.
Later that evening, a woman who came to SWIM, was walking by the POOL. She SLIPPED in the man’s BLOOD, screamed, and then FOUND Donald Tippet’s BODY. He LIVED, but one EYE was so badly DAMAGED that it could not be SAVED.
Meanwhile, the two TEENAGERS were APPREHENDED and brought to TRIAL. Their PAST RECORDS assured that BOTH would get LONG SENTENCES. However, Donald Tippet did an AMAZING thing-he REQUESTED that the JUDGE allow the two YOUNG MEN to be PAROLED to his CHARGE. He wanted to give them another CHANCE. He believed they could CHANGE.
One of the boys blew his OPPORTUNITY. He COMMITTED another CRIME, was CAUGHT, and to JAIL. The other boy, however, was RESPONSIVE to Tippet’s KINDNESS. He went to COLLEGE and then, eventually, to MEDICAL SCHOOL. He became one of our nation’s leading SURGEONS-an EYE SURGEON.
A REPORTER, writing about Donald Tippet’s AMAZING STORY of FORGIVENESS, said of the SURGEON’S accomplishments: “I wonder if he ever PERFORMS one of those DELICATE EYE OPERATIONS without thinking of that NIGHT in the YMCA and the YOUNG MAN whose CONFIDENCE and FORGIVENESS changed his LIFE!”
B. FORGIVENESS is one of those WORDS that Christians use quite often, but many still have difficulty completely UNDERSTANDING what it means to be FORGIVEN.
1. One reason we haven’t understood FORGIVENESS is because many of us really don’t know what it’s
like to be LOST.
a. Most Christians were BROUGHT UP in the CHURCH.
We had Christian PARENTS. We were REARED in a GODLY HOME. We HEARD the GOSPEL all of our lives. We were at WORSHIP almost every SUNDAY.
By the time we were EIGHT we knew every SONG that the SONG LEADER led by HEART. We could PRAY the same PRAYER that all the men PRAYED because we heard BASICALLY the SAME one Sunday after Sunday. How did we know what it was like to be LOST?
You hear these STORIES from people who became Christians later in life getting up and saying, “I was a DRUG DEALER!” “I am a RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC!” “I ROBBED a BANK!” “I KILLED a man.” And you think, “Now that GUY was LOST!”
Then you think back on what you’ve DONE. “I TOOK a PAPER CLIP from my 3rd Grade Bible Class Teacher and didn’t tell her.” “One time I SCRAPED the PEAS off my PLATE and FED them to the DOG and told Mom that I ATE them.” “I PUSHED Johnny in the MUD!”
b. Do we really KNOW what it’s like to be LOST?
2. David was a man who understood FORGIVENESS because he KNEW what it was like to SIN.
Here was a man CHOSEN by God to be the KING of Israel. A man “after God’s own HEART.” A man who was LOVED by God and PROTECTED by Him when he was PURSUED by King Saul who was out to KILL him.
What does he doe? He commits ADULTERY, then LIES about it. And then trying to COVER-UP his SIN, he has a man KILLED.
When David writes, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven and whose sins are covered and not counted against him by the Lord,” he’s talking about himself. David knew what it was like to be LOST, but he also knew what it was like to be FORGIVEN.
I. THE EFFECTS OF SIN- Psalm 32:3-4
A. Notice that David “kept SILENT about his SIN”- v. 3a.
1. He committed ADULTERY, he LIED and DECEIVED, he MURDERED, but he didn’t want to THINK ABOUT it and certainly didn’t want to ADMIT it.
This is TRUE of so many of us. When we do allow ourselves to get CAUGHT UP in SIN, we don’t want to ADMIT it-we don’t want to THINK about it. When we CONSCIOUSLY think about our SINS then we are OBLIGATED to do SOMETHING. But if we can SHOVE our SINS back into the RECESSES of our MINDS and not DWELL on them, we think we can LIVE with ourselves a little EASIER.
2. Many Christians have SECRET SINS-SINS that we COMMIT that we don’t want anybody to know about.
Those SINS vary. They can be COMPULSIVE LYING, PORNOGRAPHY, SEXUAL SINS, STEALING on the JOB, CHEATING, DRUNKENNESS, BITTERNESS, and many more.
And like David, we “KEEP SILENT” about our SINS. We don’t want to ADMIT them to God, to others, or even to ourselves.
B. Look how David’s SILENCE had AFFECTED him.
1. David- “My bones wasted away through my GROANING all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer”- vv. 3-4 .
a. Psalm 38:1-8 (READ)
b. David is DESCRIBING how his SINS and the SILENCE of his SINS have AFFECTED him PHYSICALLY.
David’s SIN, because he hadn’t CONFESSED it to God or even ADMITTED to himself, is GNAWING at him. He is literally SICKENED by it.
He CRIES and GROANS all day long. His BODY ACHES-his STOMACH churns, he can’t SLEEP. His POSTURE is BENT OVER-he can no longer WALK among his people with his HEAD HELD HIGH.
David kept his sin SILENT for almost a year. During that time he lived in constant MISERY, agonizing over what he had DONE but still REFUSING to ACKNOWLEDGE it.
2. Have you ever felt like David?
Have you ever allowed yourself to get CAUGHT UP in SIN-REFUSING to ACKNOWLEDGE it, and then have that SIN keep GNAWING at you where you could no longer THINK STRAIGHT? You TOSSED and TURNED all night. You became SICK of your STOMACH-THROWING UP. You MOANED and CRIED because what you did was so WRONG, but you still couldn’t make yourself ADMIT it-not even to yourself.
Maybe what David has DESCRIBED is something that you are EXPERIENCING now because you are presently LIVING in SIN and haven’t done anything about it.
The REFUSAL to ACKNOWLEDGE our SIN can AFFECT us in many ways: DEPRESSION, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, PHYSICAL ILLNESS, PROBLEMS on the JOB and at HOME-it can SAP the VITALITY right out of you.
I’M THANKFUL THAT DAVID DOESN’T STOP HERE!
II. THE CONFESSION OF SIN- v. 5a
A. David finally CONFESSED to God and brought his SINS before Him.
1. It wasn’t until the prophet Nathan came to David with a REVEALING STORY that he CONFESSED his GUILT and said, “I have SINNED against the Lord”- II Samuel 12:13.
For almost a year David had been LIVING in MISERY because he kept SILENT about his SIN. And it wasn’t until he CONFESSED it saying, “Lord, I have SINNED against you,” that the BURDEN of his GUILT was LIFTED. The ACHES of his BODY left him. His CRIES turned to JOY. Once again he could STRAIGHTEN UP and HOLD his HEAD HIGH, because he had been RESTORED to the HOLY POSITION he THREW away when he allowed SIN to TAKE OVER and REFUSED to CONFESS IT.
2. Do you remember a time when you got CAUGHT UP in SIN and you kept SILENT for awhile, but then you finally CONFESSED it? How did you FEEL?
Maybe you had an EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR. It was only one time. You were SEDUCED by this woman at work who FLIRTED with you for weeks. Finally one afternoon you gave in. You went to her APARTMENT and committed ADULTERY with her. Afterwards, you felt so BAD. You think, “I’m an ADULTERER!” You couldn’t even look at yourself in the MIRROR. Then all kinds of THOUGHTS go through your mind: “What if my WIFE finds out? How can I keep it from her?” Then you think, “Will I lose my FAMILY. I can’t bear to LOSE my WIFE and KIDS!” For weeks you AVOID your WIFE. Yet, this SIN keeps HAUNTING you and GNAWING at you. Finally one night you go to your WIFE with TEARS and you tell her what you did. And you say, “Hon, if you want to DIVORCE me, I understand.” And she breaks down and CRIES and then says, “I am so HURT! How could you do this to me?” But then she takes you into her ARMS and says, “I LOVE you and I FORGIVE you.” You can’t BELIEVE it. But it makes you feel SO GOOD to finally get that SIN out in the open.
Or it could be that you’ve done something to bring DISGRACE upon the CHURCH. You know it was WRONG, but you made all kinds of EXCUSES. But finally one Sunday morning after the SERMON you come before the CHURCH and CONFESSED what you’ve done and PLEADED with your brothers and sisters to FORGIVE you. It was TOUGH, but to have the BURDEN of that sin LIFTED felt so GOOD!
III. THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN- vv. 5b-7
A. David CONFESSED his SIN to God and the Father joyfully FORGAVE him.
1. Aren’t you glad that we have such a FORGIVING FATHER?
We BLASPHEME His HOLY NAME, we SPIT in His FACE, we HURT and RIDICULE and DEFAME His CHILDREN, we DESECRATE His CHURCH, and then we come to Him and say, “God, I’m SORRY!” and He says, “FORGIVEN and FORGOTTEN!”
I don’t know about you, but that HUMBLES me. That makes me REALIZE how UNDESERVING and UNWORTHY I am to be called a CHILD of God! I CONFESS to you that I have HURT my Father and have DISAPPOINTED Him time and time again, but He CONTINUES to “SURROUND me with SONGS of DELIVERANCE.” He DELIVERS me from my own SIN and DESTRUCTION!
2. But if God so freely FORGIVES, what is the IMPLICATION?
Does God DELIGHT in SIN? NEVER! Does God SMILE as a result of yours and my TRANSGRESSIONS? NO WAY! Is God AMUSED by our WICKEDNESS and REBELLION? IMPOSSIBLE! So what does God DELIGHT in? Being able to “EXTEND MERCY” pleases God- Micah 7:18.
3. God is ECSTATIC to be able to extend FORGIVENESS to His WAYWARD CHILDREN!
You don’t have to APPROACH God SHIELDING your head just in case He DESTROYS you with a MIGHTY BACKHAND. The BROKEN SPIRIT, the BROKEN and CONTRITE HEART provokes in God an inexpressible JOY!
B. When we talk about God’s FORGIVENESS there are some who are AFRAID that such TALK will encourage people to be CASUAL about SIN.
1. Paul- “. . . it is the KINDNESS of God that leads you toward REPENTANCE”- Romans 2:4.
2. Does FORGIVENESS make light of SIN?
If it does, the Lord God is RESPONSIBLE because He offers it ABUNDANTLY. God BOUGHT the RIGHT to be DELIGHTED as He FORGIVES us our SINS. It COST Him His Son on the CROSS!
I don’t know about you, but when I WRONG someone and I know I DESERVE some PUNISHMENT, whether it’s a GOOD TONGUE LASHING or to be FIRED from a JOB, but the person FORGIVES me and gives me another CHANCE, I don’t think I would say, “Boy, I FOOLED that guy! I can do anything WRONG and get away with it!”
Some people might take ADVANTAGE of the situation. I, and I believe you will think, I didn’t DESERVE his FORGIVENESS. I am going to DO better and TRY harder not to HURT that guy again!”
C. How does it make you FEEL when you know that you did something WRONG, but instead of PUNISHMENT you RECEIVE MERCY?
Here you are at the mall just hanging out with your friends. Suddenly it dawns on you that your Mom LOANED you the CAR, and you were supposed to pick her up 3 hours ago at the BEAUTY SHOP and you FORGOT all about it. Your Dad’s BOSS is coming over for DINNER tonight and it’s 5:30 and DINNER is at 6:00. Your Mom said, “Don’t be LATE, because I’ve got to get HOME and CLEAN the HOUSE and COOK DINNER.”
You run to the nearest PHONE and call the BEAUTY SHOP. “This is TODD, is my Mom still there?” The Beauty operator says, “No, Todd, she WAITED around for awhile and then LEFT. She said she was going to WALK home, but shortly after she left it started to RAIN.” You think, “Oh, no! She’s going to KILL me!” So you call home and your little brother answers the PHONE. “Is Mom there?” “YES!” “Is she UPSET?” And your little brother says, “JUST KEEP RUNNING! DON’T COME HOME!”
As you’re DRIVING home you think, “What am I going to say? Mom, AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS HIGHJACKED us at the mall. No, no! She’ll never BELIEVE that! Mom, I fell down, HIT my HEAD and lost my MEMORY! I got LOST! I ran out of GAS!” And you finally decide that all you can do is go in and say, “Mom, I FORGOT all about PICKING you UP and I’m SORRY! KILL ME! Put me out of my MISERY-PLEASE!”
Pulling into the DRIVEWAY you feel this SHARP PAIN in the PIT of your STOMACH. You walk into the house and your MOTHER is standing there. Her new PERM is totally SOAKED flat. Her SHOES are off and you can see her feet RED and WRINKLED from walking in the RAIN. She’s got a BUTCHER KNIFE in one hand and a STEW FORK in the other-and she has this UNUSUAL GRIN! Then she says, “Over TWO HOURS I waited for you and then had to WALK home THREE MILES-and it RAINED!” And you think, “This is it! She’s really going to KILL me this time!”
Then your Mom puts down the KNIFE and FORK and says, “Your Dad’s BOSS will be her in a few minutes. Get CLEANED up for DINNER. And by the way, I made your favorite DESSERT-STRAWBERRY SHORT CAKE. Give me a BIG KISS and we’ll FORGET the whole thing.” And you think, “The RAIN must have given her a FEVER! She’s DELIRIOUS! I can’t BELIEVE this, but I like it. She has actually FORGIVEN me!”
Are you going to say to your mother, “KISS YOU! I’ll SHAKE your HAND, but I’m not going to KISS YOU!” You’ll be KISSING all over her FACE-you’ll be KISSING her FEET! “Oh, Mom. I love you! I love you!” You’ll be in there CLEANING out the BATHROOM! You’ll be so SWEET and KIND to your MOTHER. You know why? Because she’s been so GOOD to you, and you knew for a MOMENT you DESERVED to be PUNISHED but she had completely FORGIVEN you.
Isn’t that the way it should be toward God? We SIN against our Father and then come to Him and say, “I’m SORRY!” And God holds out his ARMS and says, “Come here and let me KISS YOU.” If that doesn’t HUMBLE you and causes you to SERVE God better in your LIFE, then there is NOTHING that is going to PRICK your HEART!
IS THERE A SIN IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU’VE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH LATELY?