How Do You Go On?
There are so many terrible aspects to sin and sinning that it is an affront to the mind to try to figure out why we give ourselves over to it so often and so willingly.
King David, as a result of his desolate walk through the valley of sin’s aftermath, exclaimed to God, “Against You, You only have I sinned!” In this statement, David is not at all denying the countless number of others against whom he had also sinned, but he is teaching us that the most basic wrong inherent in sin is its offense to God. We need to remember this and act accordingly.
However, among the many dire results of sin, is this…how does one, who has involved himself in sins that are so hurtful to others…so degrading…so irreversible…so inexplicable…how does one begin again in life? How do you make it through a day? In Psalm 51:3, David described the misery his sins represented to him this way, “My sin is ever before me.” It didn’t matter which way he looked, there were his terrible evils staring him down. It didn’t matter what he did, whenever he finished what he was focused on for a time, there, again, were his sins looking him in the eye. They greeted him every morning when he arose. He saw them every time one of his fellow citizens looked at him with a frown and shook their heads in disgust. Was he ever able to be in the presence of his wife, Bathsheba, without remembering the dark deeds surrounding their coming together…the betrayal, the adultery, the murderous cover-up, the death of the baby? It was all before him. He could never forget. Tell me, how did David go on with such a haunting apparition ever before him? How do we go on?
I have no easy or glib answer to the deep, heartfelt regrets our sins have inflicted upon us. We are not built so as to be able to literally forget about our wrongs and their results. So what can we do? I think part of the answer comes from a statement David made in Psalm 16. There is a way for us to put one foot in front of another, even when there are plenty of older brothers who don’t want us to recover. David admitted that his sin was ever before his face, but there was another vision that enabled him to stay at his post. “I have set the Lord always before me.” (Psalm 16:8a) Even if everyone else wanted David to pay the full price for his evil, the Lord had “put away” his sin. Even if others would demand the “pound of flesh,” God had told David, “You shall not die.” Even if the vast majority, including David himself, thought he should no longer be on Israel’s throne, God kept him there for His own purposes. And David had a deep belief that one should never go against God’s anointed king, whether that was King Saul or himself.
I’m convinced the only way a person of tender conscience and with a heart like God’s own heart can go on with such shameful deeds burned into their memory appearing ever before them, is to focus, not on the evil, but on the gracious God Whom they also cannot, will not ever forget. Of course we remember our sins, but over against that dreadful memory, we will live in constant relationship with our forgiving God Who still has purposes to accomplish in us.
Sister, brother, I urge all of us to do as David did. Keep Father God ever before you, even over and above the past sin and shame that would stifle your life and blight all your future. This is the only way I know of to go on day by day. Don’t give up! God is good!