When I think about sin and grace, and the actions of the Christians, there’s something that really bothers me. Why do we treat all sins differently? At times, I feel like we can excuse some sin as not being a big deal or find a way to compromise the true point of Jesus’ words to fit our current societal norms. Then at other times when someone does what we call a “bigger” or “worse” sin, we act like it is something that’s unforgivable or beyond God’s grace?
At the same time, I’ve always been fascinated by two people committing the same sin, and one has their sin forgiven, while the other is shamed. And it could just be a matter of where they are in their walk with the Lord that makes a difference. One is further along and should know better, and it is our role to play judge, jury, and executioner.
But then I read a passage like the one we read on Sunday, and the truth is, I could argue David should have known better. It’s been 25 years since he has been anointed king over Israel, but he is still running for his life. He has no idea, but in 24 hours, Saul will be dead and he will rise to king over Judah, and then king over all of Israel.
And here he is, running from the Lord. Doing things his own way. Not living for God, not trusting in God, not believing in who God is. He is one who knows the power of the Lord because the Spirit of God dwells within him and he has seen God’s power in moments like fighting Goliath. And yet, here is David, running to sin.
And there’s one thing that sticks in my mind as I read this: God wants David back. God does everything to protect David from doing something that he would later regret, and then places him on a path to come back to Him. So I think about what God does in David’s life to bring him back, and what we do to bring someone back who has walked away, and I keep asking: Do we follow the example God gave us?
At the end of the day, we all stand in judgement. We are all guilty of God’s law. We could talk about how one person is “more guilty” than another, but that’s just going down the wrong path. What matters most here is reconciliation. Reconciling people to their God, whether it has happened once before or not. But we will never be able to help them come back if we’re heaping shame upon them for their actions.
Jesus died for all sins. Every single one of them. The ones we deem small, and the one we deem horrific. But to God, sin is sin, and all sin has a price. We’re blessed by having Jesus die on the cross for our sins. But when dealing with those who have never heard of Jesus, or may be struggling and walked away, they need to be treated the same. They need to be rebuked for their actions, but also loved and encouraged, not ridiculed and shamed.
My hope and prayer is that as we go, as we share Christ, which is our mission, no matter where a person is in their walk, that we are willing to do what Jesus did. Walk beside them, love them, encourage them, and show them the way back to the God who loves them so deeply and desperately wants them back.