While the media are abuzz with the recent story of Josh Duggar’s teenage wrongdoing, we felt it was important to discuss the steps toward making things right when we’ve done wrong.
We must first understand that we are all broken people in need of God’s grace. (Jason: Some more so than others, like my brother, David!)
All of us are sinners – there’s no getting around that fact. With nine kids between the two of us, one thing is certain: We’ve never had to teach any of our kids how to lie, be selfish, mean-spirited, etc. As a matter of fact, no one had to teach the two of us, either. We were born that way.
Throughout world history and in our own lives, we see the truth of Scripture’s claim that “all are sinners.” This is why in America we have a Constitution, a police force, our military and rules in every sphere of society – to keep sinners in check.
So what do you do when you’ve done wrong?
The first step is to confess it – first to God and then to those affected by your actions. This takes guts because our natural tendency is to cover up. Don’t worry, Adam and Eve had the same initial reaction.
Getting it out in the open is when healing can take place. It’s like removing a cancerous tumor from your body – opening up and allowing it to be removed is the key to health and life. Keeping it in leads only to sickness and death.
The same is true with sin.
King David showed us in Psalms 32, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away. … 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” (3a, 5).
By the way, if you think you’ve done something so bad that there’s no forgiveness, just remember David – he was an adulterer and a murderer. Yet he was also a man after God’s heart because he refused to cover up his sins and was willing to confess them and make things right.
David’s life – and many others in the Bible before and after him – shows that there is hope in confession. But you’ve got to be honest by opening up to God and to those whom you’ve hurt.
The next step is to accept the consequences. If you’ve stolen something, give it back. If you’ve hurt someone, make it right. If you’ve lied about something, tell the truth. Whatever the consequences of your actions are, you must fully assume responsibility. This is justice.
These things seem so simple, yet they are very difficult to do. And the fact of the matter is, if you’re not willing to seek justice, then you’re not truly sorry.
The Apostle Paul explained this to the early church when he said, “Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right” (2 Corinthians 7:11, NLT).
The final step when you’ve done wrong, which might actually be the most difficult one, is to renounce (forsake) the actions, behaviors or lifestyles of sin. You must turn and walk the other way, which is the essence of true repentance.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV, emphasis added).
God’s love is unconditional, but His mercy is based on a condition – repentance. And the way to show you are truly sorry is to follow the steps of repentance:
- Confess your sin to God and those you’ve hurt.
- Accept the consequences and do your best to make it right.
- Turn and walk the other direction.
In our own lives, we’ve experienced the incredible mercies of God as we’ve followed these steps of repentance – because He longs to have mercy on us all.
We’ll say it again: Although God’s love is unconditional, His mercy is based on a condition – repentance.
It’s time to turn from our sins and look to Jesus today, for He is our only hope.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
As the stories about Josh Duggar will circulate wildly over the next few weeks, pay close attention to the steps of repentance – and take inventory of your own life. We’ll do the same!
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/when-youve-done-something-wrong/
Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net