What if I told you there was a man who loved God and God loved Him dearly?
One day the man, even though normally a man of character and integrity made the choice to cheat on his wife, and as a result of their one-time affair the woman became pregnant. How would you feel about that man? Is he still a Christian? Does he still love God?
What if I told you instead of admitting his affair, he tried to cover it up and murdered his mistress’s husband so he could quickly marry his mistress and make everyone believe it was legitimate? Now how do you feel about that man? Is he still a Christian? Does he still love God? Does God still love the man dearly?
It’s hard to believe God still loves us and has great plans for our life in spite of our failures and sins, isn’t it? If you’re like me, the religious part of my heart, that tries to convince me to trade my relationship with God for rules and policies, tells me certain failures disqualify me from certain promises. If my self-judgment doesn’t bury me, often the reaction of the church or my Christian friends will finish the job. Never spoken but often implied, I believe that God holds his best dreams and destinies for those with the fewest self-inflicted wounds.
The biggest obstacle blocking me from embracing God’s best for my life is my regret I carry around from a lifetime of collateral damage my bad decisions have caused. How could God use someone like me? How could God make anything beautiful out of my mess?
The man who impregnated his mistress and killed her husband was King David. And his encounter with God after his scandal shakes my religious, theological bones to the core.
After David confessed, “I have sinned against the Lord,” God told him that the consequences for his sin would be the death of his child just born, so while the child was still alive David wept, fasted and begged God to change his mind, but He didn’t, and the child died. That’s the part of the story that agrees with religion; Sin deserves punishment. But it’s what happens next that exposes the scandalous grace of God.
2 Samuel 12:20-24
“Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate… Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child”
There is no neat category to place the end of this story. David married his mistress, and after their first child had died he slept with her again, and another baby was born “whom God loved”. Of course God loved the child, He loves everyone, but it’s significant that the Bible says “The Lord loved the child” because it would be easy to assume that every child born from a relationship that started so scandalously would be tainted and somehow restricted from God’s best, that would make sense to my religious heart.
This child, however, Solomon, born from scandal, adultery, and murder, became the next King of Israel. It doesn’t make sense and seems impossible, but it shouldn’t because
God’s best for me isn’t limited by the worst of me.
Once we repent for our sin, really repent, and accept the consequences our sin has made, we don’t have to punish ourselves further by carrying around regret and shame.
2 Corinthians 7:10
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.”
I’m not implying you won’t have to manage the consequences of your decision for the rest of your life, or that the people you hurt won’t hold it against you forever. Our sin has a cost, but we are where we are, and every stupid, boneheaded, hurtful, criminal, immoral, sinful decision we have ever made has brought us to this place. Once we repent, our past becomes the platform God uses for His great purpose. Stop letting regret keep you from embracing God’s best for your life. God’s best for you isn’t limited by the worst of you.
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