1 O LORD, rebuke me not in Your wrath, And chasten me not in Your burning anger. 2 For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, And Your hand has pressed down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly. 6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. 7 For my loins are filled with burning, And there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.
I recently offended a friend of mine. It wasn't intentional, but as soon as I realized that I had, I could not rest or focus on anything else until I had resolved the issue. My stomach was literally in knots and I was very upset. I had to contact my friend and ask for forgiveness and restore proper fellowship between us as soon as possible.
Really, it should be no different when we offend God. I think one thing many followers of Christ have lost is godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). We have forgotten how to mourn over our sin. We have lost the severity of the offense that our sin is to God. I'm not talking about penance: walking around beating ourselves up over our sin. I am simply talking about being sensitive to how deeply our sin hurts God because He is holy and because He has paid the ultimate price to redeem us. I am talking about repenting rather than ignoring or justifying our sin.
I hear a lot of people offer logical sounding, but none-the-less, humanistic explanations (or justifications) for sin. These will not stand against God's measure. His measure is perfect holiness which He reveals clearly in His Word, the Bible. And yes, we cannot be perfect and will not be perfect until He comes to take us to heaven, but we are not to allow our weakness become our excuse because we live by His strength and He can and will overcome sin in our lives (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we offer our logic in place of God's Word, we are displaying a tremendous amount of pride which hinders our fellowship with God (James 4:6-10).
I could have ignored my friend's hurt or I could have justified myself with some logical-sounding (maybe even spiritual-sounding) argument. However, the bottom line was that I was wrong and I offended my friend. Even if I had been right in part of what I had said, I was still wrong in the part which was the offense to my friend. Even if we are partially right in the midst of our sin, there is still a part that is wrong and offensive to God. We must quickly go to Him.
Another way I could have handled my situation would have been to avoid the friend out of my embarrassment or out of fear for how they might respond to me. All that would have done is caused me more anxiety and prolonged broken fellowship rather than restoring the health and the mutual benefit of the relationship. Often times believers who sin feel so guilty that they avoid all the things that would restore their fellowship with the Father: church, prayer, Bible study, etc. What we must do instead is run to Him and fall at His feet and trust that He is faithful to forgive as He promises. This leads to immediate peace rather than the turmoil that stays with us when we know we are not right (1 John 1:9)
The bottom line is that before we will deal appropriately with our sin, we must recognize it as sin and how serious it is to God. This honesty before God will lead to our hearts being broken which will compel us to resolve the issue quickly, and God in His tremendous graciousness will restore us to proper fellowship with Him. As we experience the kindness of God in this process, it will soften our hearts further to how offensive sin is to God and we will be compelled to strive even harder against sin in our own lives.
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
I pray that your heart is broken over any unconfessed sin in your life and that you will quickly run to God to drink from His fountain of grace and mercy and be restored to proper fellowship with Him.
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet