It seems like every day we are bombarded with stories of icons that have fallen prey to the consequences of some sort of deviant behavior. Adultery, fraud, cheating, murder, etc. Take a look at this list from-
There are many more, but you get the idea. Why does this shock us though? You see this played out in Scripture numerous times. Consider the story of David and Bathsheba. In case you have forgotten, here are the highlights –
David notices Bathsheba
David lusts after Bathsheba
David sleeps with Bathsheba
Bathsheba conceives a child
David attempts to cover up the indiscretion by bringing Uriah (Husband of Bathsheba) home from the war hoping he will sleep with his wife.
David tries the previous tactic again, this time using alcohol
David plans Uriah’s death
Uriah is killed
David is then confronted by his friend Nathan and reaches the following conclusion –
“I have sinned against the Lord.”
But I want to highlight what the Lord says through all of this-
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
Did you catch that? “Private” sin leading to public disgrace.
How humiliating must this have been for David? How humbling must this have been for David. By the way, of course all of what the Lord promised came to fruition (For example, see 2 Samuel 16:22).
Now take a look at what Nathan says to David about the consequences of his actions.
“The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
Two principles in play here –
1) Sin is never private
“You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel”
We may think we are fooling the world. We may think our sin is just a private and personal matter. If you are like me, then these excuses are familiar to you:
“It doesn’t impact anyone else.”
“What I do privately is my business.”
“Nobody will know.”
The fact is, this is false. Here is the truth-
Sin, although often times conducted privately, is very much a public issue impacting everyone.
Maybe you don’t believe me, but just think
– That lie you just told, it hindered trust between you and another person.
– The anger you harbor towards your boss? Certainly leads to resentment in the relationship
– The woman you lusted after at the gym today, no big deal right? Ask your wife how she feels about that
You see, our so-called private sin manifests itself publicly, and then we must face the consequences of our actions.
2) Our sin carries consequences, always-
“The Lord has taken away your sin, …. BUT….”
Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, you cannot escape this truth. Our sin carries consequences. Christ never promises to shield us from the earthly consequences of our sin. We still have to face the reality of a fallen world that we readily contribute to each day. The consequence may be large, or it could be small. It could be as grand as worldwide public disgrace, or as small as a painful talk with your wife or friend.
Either way, we will face the consequences.
What do we do then? What is the correct response when faced with our “private” sin?
Psalm 51 has the answer
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.