So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen (1 Peter 5:6-11).
If your painful acts and attitudes have forced others to grieve, retreat or turn you away, I have a very important message of hope for you today. When you send away the weight of your sin, and receive the robe of righteousness from Jesus, it is immediate. Everything changes in a moment. It is your choice to draw a line in the sand, and agree with His forgiveness and mercy. Forgive yourself. It’s the only thing you can do to send away the sorrow. And then ask God for wisdom of how to love…not that you can ever make up for your mistake, but you can receive His gentleness and kindness that may very well draw you into a restored relationship.
Our patterns of dysfunctional pain hurt us, but they also hurt others. It’s not until we wake up to reality that we see the residual ripple affect that our poor choices make. Colliding with the reality of our mistakes comes in layers.
When I sinned…when I made a huge selfish mistake and chose to be with another man, I foolishly thought I could just stop my behavior, and start making good choices and all would be well. What I didn’t understand was how the consequences of my stupidity would cause pain to not only my own precious family and parents, but to the body of Christ.
It took several years and several layers of repentance before I truly saw the depth of sorrow that my act of betrayal reached. I remember two years after the affair, being in the room with one of my former staff members. I asked her why I felt judgment from her…she answered my questions with anger and two years of growing rage. I remember my hands were actually quivering as I knelt at her feet and just “took it”. The accusations flowed freely. You lied. You committed adultery. You hurt me. I apologized and repented again and again with tears and sorrow. I didn’t understand how it was so personal for her. I didn’t betray her…I betrayed Bob. Bob has taken me back and we are choosing to love each other through this, won’t you please do the same?
Now, years later I have deepened understanding of a ripple effect. This precious young lady looked up to me as a mentor, a representative of Jesus Himself. How disheartening it must have been, when her ideals were crashed as someone she deeply respected participated in the ugliness of sin. Yes, our painful choices affect others, but we cannot demand forgiveness. The layers of healing allow me to really see the magnitude of my mistake. I’m thankful that Jesus protected me from seeing the masses of damage I caused at the beginning of our crisis. I may have possibly drowned in the sorrow.
It could take a week, or it could take ten years. There’s a precious heart involved…the person you hurt. It’s up to them to take the risk to receive you back. But in the meantime, you don’t have to carry the sorrow of your sin for one more day. My beautiful friend, this is your day to be free. I ended up carrying the weight of shame and sorrow for a couple of years, I have tasted humiliation and regret…but I clearly remember the day I drew a line in the sand, experienced God’s view and opinion of me, and I received His extravagant love that covered my sin. Completely. This girl knows what it means to be truly forgiven, and she who’s been forgiven much loves much.
One of the reasons I can love you so deeply, and a glimpse behind our desire to see restitution and reconciliation within marriages, families and homes…there is always hope!