Try something out: stand up and pull your cell phone out of your pocket, now hold it straight out as far as you can reach, with your arm fully extended parallel to the ground hold on to that phone. How long can you hold on to it with your arm straight out? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? Bored? Try calling someone on speakerphone and having a long conversation with your arm fully extended. Does that phone get heavy?
How did you do? Too easy? Try grabbing a chain and padlock from the back fence the do the same.
Was it harder than you expected? That’s weird, right?
You know what I’m talking about. It happens innocently enough. In the heat of the moment you do something or say something that you shouldn’t. Maybe it takes a while for you to realize just how wrong it was. Now the other person affected is gone and you’re left wondering what to do.
Sure enough, the more time that passes the heavier that thing gets. You try to forget about it. You will try different things to make it go away. That thing just gets heavier.
You don’t have to live with it.
A guy named David, grew up in a working class family and had accomplished a lot by his thirtieth birthday. He was known as a religious man. He believed in God, read the Scriptures, and sang the songs. He paid his bills. He worked hard. He was a patriot. David saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. He wanted her, but she was married. He sent her husband off to war (where he was supposed to be) so that they could have a fling. He didn’t stop there. He ordered her husband’s commanding officer to put her husband on the front line of battle and pull back the other troops, killing his competition. Then he married the widow. Murder & adultery. The sweet taste of the forbidden became bitter.
Are you still holding on to something? Are you carrying it around every day?
I’ve been there. I’m not perfect. I know what it’s like…feeling like you are rotting from the inside out. Heavy. Almost like walking around with a wet blanket draped over you all day long.
When I came to God with my junk…I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to pray. When I don’t know what to say, I look for the right words…written by someone else. I have learned that, there are times when, praying the words that are in the Bible can be much easier.
How does David know to ask God for forgiveness? David’s Grandpa Obed is the son of Boaz and Ruth and their family story would also include a description of Boaz’ mother Rahab. Now, that’s a story worth looking up.
When David turned the corner, when he called out to God for mercy, and finally let go of the guilt he was carrying, he wrote the words you can read in Psalm 51.
“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
The truth is that getting clean is possible. Getting free from your past is possible!
You can’t do it on your own! You need God!
Yet it is possible! New life can spring up out of the muck we are in!
Read Ephesians 2:3-5 “All of us used to live that way…only by God’s grace that you have been saved!”
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
“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
What can we learn from this story?
- God’s love & forgiveness doesn’t know your limits.
- God is not asking you to carry the weight of your past.
- God is ready, willing, & able to cleanse you.
What can we do?
- Confess your sin. Confess your faith in God.
- Ask God for mercy & grace. Ask God to make you clean. Mercy: not getting the bad stuff we deserve. Grace: getting the good stuff we don’t deserve.
- Run with a partner. Don’t pick the chains back up. Jesus says “go & sin no more.”
One last thing, David had “running partners” – other guys he could talk to that would help him grow. It’s a great idea to find someone who can help you through this. Look for someone who knows what this journey is like. You should be able to find them in church. Drop me a line if you need help.
Here’s a Secret Sin Prayer using the words of David from Psalm 51: Oh God, have mercy, blot out the stain, wash me clean, purify me, give me back my joy, remove the stain, create in me a clean heart, renew a loyal spirit within me, restore to me the joy of your salvation, make me willing to obey you, forgive me.