In yesterday’s post, we named our mistakes and indiscretions what they truly are: sin. Today, I’m sharing Dr. Harold Sala’s follow up commentary, which has us facing our sin, repenting and finding forgiveness.
A medical doctor who says, “Look, this is what’s wrong with you, and this is what you need to do to get rid of your problem” has done you a great favor. He has both accurately diagnosed your illness, and told you exactly what you need to do to be rid of the pain and suffering which brought you to his office. He’s done you a great service. But a doctor who either ignores your symptoms or glosses over them, saying, “Look, everybody has aches and pains. Don’t worry about them!” has done you a great disservice.
After I spoke in a certain church, a man met me at the door and said, “I liked what you said, but an awful lot of people are going to be very angry with you!” “And why is that?” I asked. “Because you didn’t sugarcoat it; you told them the truth!” But isn’t that what God did with us when He described the rebellion of the human heart which the Bible calls “SIN”? God never excused the foibles of an unfaithful mate, saying, “Surely this kind of behavior is a token of the aberrant behavior of humankind’s evolutionary climb towards a better world.” No! He called it “sin,” but in labeling our problem, God offered a solution–repentance leading to forgiveness and cleansing!
God still says, “`Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. `Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool'” (Isaiah 1:18).
Man’s refusal to diagnose the problem presents a far greater problem–a sickness which results in death. As Thomas Carlyle wrote, “The deadliest sins are the consciousness of no sin.”
The good news is that there is forgiveness for your sin–no matter what it is. Illustrating that truth, Jesus told the story about a young man who became dissatisfied with his boring existence. He convinced his father that he should be given his inheritance, which he took and quickly squandered in riotous living and cheap thrills. Eventually, the money was gone and he found himself cleaning out the pens of swine–something which is pretty repulsive to anyone, but especially to a Jewish lad who viewed pigs as unclean.
In telling the story, Jesus pointed out that there came a time when he “came to himself.” Today we would say, “he came to his senses.” He began to reason–the same thinking which God said we are to do–that things were better for his father’s hired hands than for him. He said, “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son…” (Luke 15:18-19), and that is exactly what he did.
Facing the reality of your failure, regretting what you have done, turning away from it, and then going back to the Father, is what is necessary to bring peace of mind and find the forgiveness of God today.
Restoration–being at peace with the Father–is the end result of dealing with the issue of sin. It is all part of what salvation is about. Take time to read the story for yourself, found in Luke 15 in your New Testament. There you will see that the father received the son with open arms! He quickly forgave him, and there was rejoicing in the household.
St. John Chrysostom once said, “For to sin, indeed is human; but to persevere in sin is not human but altogether Satanic.” He’s right! If you see yourself in the picture I’ve just described, the way back is difficult but it is a well worn path. Get moving today! The Father is yet waiting!