Tuesday, June 5, 2007

After Bathsheba 2.1: David Accepts Responsibility

“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam 12:13)

So we were talking about David coming to his senses after Bathshebagate (someone else's idea, not mine) - and realising (particularly in Ps 51) the profound distance from God he'd travelled. And we were personalising this whole distance-from-God-experience...
To change, we must take responsibility as David did in the quote above. To begin taking responsibility, the first thing we must recognize is the behaviour and attitudes which have done the separating, so that we can change/undo them.

Now, you might say, “Well, he may have sinned but I haven’t! I just feel far from God.”
I'm gonna make a statement here (one I'm happy to discuss rather than invoke as Absolute Truth) : there is no separation from God without sin being involved somewhere.
Some of us are highly aware of the sins that have moved us away from intimacy with God. It may be adultery (the physical adultery of an affair or the ongoing mental adultery of a pornography addiction). It may be actual manslaughter (I personally know 2 men guilty of this) or the murder of others’ reputations through gossip and backstabbing.
It may be habitual lying (which can simply be hiding the truth), or the slow death of your passion through neglecting the health of your relationship with God or compromise.
This last one – compromise - is the most insidious and doesn’t often appear to be what it is. The book of Hebrews actually calls it the sin of “neglect”: “Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away from it … how shall we escape (judgement) if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb 2:1, 3 NRSV)
If I neglect my garden, it gets full of weeds. If I neglect my car, it gets run down and may break down. If I neglect my wife, the relationship suffers. So why should it surprise me that if I neglect my soul (and when I neglect God himself, I do neglect the health of my spirit and soul), I will drift, will grow hardhearted and risk losing everything God has offered me
You may not have committed adultery or been caught up in a gambling addiction, so there seems no obvious sin involved in your drifting away. But did you let other things stop you from drawing aside to spend personal regular time-out with God? Did you find another book more interesting than the Bible and never came back to your regular study of the Word? Did your hunger for affluence mean that you spent more time at work and less time meeting the needs of others on God’s behalf? Did seeking to please God in worship become an option rather than an integral part of your week? Did your career or your degree become more important than God’s call on your life to make disciples? Did building up your public image take priority over representing Jesus to your community?
Drawing back from God to pursue other things is a form of sin (Luke 9:62; Heb 10:36-39; 1 John 1:15-16). Believe me, I don't like thought any more than you do, but there it is in scripture.
A dear older sister in the Lord who has lead many to Christ over the decades, once told me that whenever she is leading someone through a sinner’s prayer, she makes them stop and remember their sins. Once they have paused and contemplated their actions and they are truly convicted of their seriousness, only then are they ready to move on to repenting of them. It’s a practise we could learn from personally.
As a first step back toward God, King David freely admits his sin. I'll pick this up in the next post. And wrap this first of David's steps back to God - taking responsibility for his behaviour. As always I'm interested in your thoughts...

If this is the first time you've read one of this series of posts, please click on the label at the end of the post (Relighting the Fire) to read all entires. Unfortunaely, they're in reverse order, so like many blogs, you'll have to scroll to the bottom to find the start of the the thread...

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