Yesterday, I ran into the mother of one of our kids' friends. It's been about nine years since I met her, and for a while, she and her family were part of our lives, especially her son. He was such a kind, sensitive boy, and he could make us laugh.
Seeing her, catching up with how her kids are and filling her in on mine, drew my thoughts back to those days. They were good days. But during those crazy days with our teens home and other teens frequently in and out of our home, I dropped the ball. I was a little more invested at times in the lives of other kids, to the detriment of my own. It's tempting; our kids don't think we're all that cool, but other teens do. And that can be a heady experience. And it can be one's downfall, because sometimes, if you're not watching you miss things.
As I drove home, thinking about my conversation with my friend, some of the many mistakes I made replayed in my head. There were quite a few on that seven minute car ride. At the wheel of the car, I cringed inwardly at them. How could I have been so foolish? I learned a lot though that trial, but I still wish I could erase many things.
When we feel the weight of sin, there are really only two choices: to seek forgiveness or ignore it. Ignoring it isn't good at all. The Psalmist, in Psalm 32 explains how he felt when he did not address his sin:
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. (v.3-4)
Sin interferes with our fellowship with God. Sometimes, the Spirit will prompt us about our sin, and we won't acknowledge it, but the guilt is still there. The conviction of the Lord will feel heavy to us. That moment when we realize we're guilty can leave us reeling. And even after we have sought forgiveness, we may still feel the burden of knowing that sin always, always has consequences.
Psalm 103 has words to answer the feeling of wasting away:
He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (v. 9-12)
I am so thakful that God did not deal with me according to my sin. And even as that chance meeting dredged up some unhappy and shame-filled moments, I praised God for His forgivness. We must not take for granted His forgiveness, and sin with abandon. Sometimes, we don't feel the weight of sin so hard, and we're like David, when he was rebuked by the prophet Nathan. We may need someone to give us a wake-up call, and those wake-up calls can be pretty sobering.
I will admit to feeling a little blue after meeting up with my friend. But I didn't stay there. I rejoiced in God's forgiveness. It is a precious thing to us, day by day as we walk in faith.