Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Serious Business

While I was waiting at the jewelry counter to replace my watch battery, Annie was happily looking at necklaces. I went around the corner to check on her and found her stuffing a necklace in the pocket of her coat. Although I remained calm on the outside, I'm guessing the initial look on my face was shock. We put it back and I double checked her other pocket to make sure it was empty. I told her never to do that and that it's wrong to take things without paying for them. I wasn't sure if she knew what she was doing was wrong.

After I got my battery we went on our way and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I'm just really sad that I did that." Then she started wailing and sobbing. She said she did know it was wrong. We stopped right in the shoe department and had ourselves some repenting and forgiveness.

It was such a great opportunity to teach her about sin, honesty and the mercy of Christ. We prayed and asked for forgiveness. I hugged and reassured her. When we met up with the rest of the family she told them she was not happy. She was not her usual chipper self the rest of the night.

Sin is serious business. God in His holiness can't tolerate sin. It's so serious that he sent his only Son to die for our sins so we wouldn't have to. Sin is treated way too lightly. Sometimes it's disregarded as no big deal or swept under the rug. Very few people are mournfully repentant of their sin. I'm not usually that bothered by my own sin. Oh, that we all could be as sorrowful over our sin as she was.

When I tell two fighting siblings to apologize to each other, they usually say "Sorry" in an ice cold voice. They said sorry, but they aren't sorry in their hearts. When they feel sad then we are truly on the way to being sorry.

In the Old Testament King David over and over expressed sorrow and repented of his sin. And there were consequences for his sins too. One example is in 2 Samuel 24 when David goes ahead and counts up his army. God didn't want him to. God wanted them to trust in His power, not the power and glory of Israel's large army. 2 Samuel 24:10 says,

David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guild of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."
And yet David is called a man after God's own heart. God is forgiving.

My daughter just about broke my heart that night. Not the action, but her reaction. It broke my heart to think about the pain of sin and how there's no avoiding it.

It broke my heart to think that I cause God to feel the same way all the time when I sin. He is my Heavenly Father and is pained when I callously turn away from Him or try to pretend it's no big deal. And I can imagine Him crying along with us as we seek his forgiveness like I did in the middle of the store the other night.

Sin is serious. It can't be brushed aside as a childish mistake or no big deal. It's important for kids to know God's laws and follow them. It's good for me to follow God and seek holiness. It's good to be sorrowful over our sin. But it's even better to know that there's hope.

Hope because the story doesn't end there. After we turn from sin, Jesus is waiting with open arms of forgiveness. He's paid the price and set us free. And that is a lesson that you are never too old for.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10
yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Psalm 103:8-13
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.

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