Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When Your Sin Is Found Out

Taken from

By Joe Dallas

No pain, no gain---it's as true of sanctification as it is of athletics.

I learned a painful lesson about "loving interruption" when I was about four years old. My family's home sat on the eighteenth fairway of a private golf course, and the location was rugged and beautiful. The fairway was easy to reach from our backyard, and a few hundred yards away, a steep little road for golf carts plunged down to a suspended bridge overlooking the green. It was a sharp downhill path we walked frequently, but I wanted to give it a whirl on my little bicycle. Dad wouldn't hear of it---"Too steep, Joey; are you nuts? You could get killed!"---which only made me more determined to try it. It looked fun, I was already a hotshot on my two-wheeler, and what did Dad know, anyway? He saw danger; I saw a good time.

We were out on the fairway one evening, I on my bike and Dad walking alongside, when I begged him, for the hundredth time, to let me coast down the hill. He refused; I sulked. Then a neighbor approached us, Dad struck up a conversation with him, and I saw my chance. As soon as his back was turned, I shot off straight for the downhill road. My bike was just teetering over the edge when wham!---both it and I were slammed sideways onto the grass. Dad, quicker than I'd given him credit for, had sprinted toward me when he saw where I was headed, grabbed the back of my shirt just as I reached the hill, and jerked me over.

He interrupted me before I went any farther, because he knew the thrill I was after could kill me. Wouldn't any good father do the same?

A loving "halt!"

That divine interruption may explain why you feel such discomfort over this behavior. It may even seem that God is hounding you---which, of course, is true.

Or maybe, in your case, it answers another question: "Why did God allow me to get caught?"

Why, indeed? After all, you may have been getting away with this for years. So why now, all of a sudden, did your wife get the urge to check your computer history? Or why were you seen going into the topless bar? Or why did the affair come to light?

You may think punishment is the answer, since punishment seems justified. So you figure He's just giving you a long overdue kick in the butt. You sinned; you're busted; you suffer. And that, you may think, is all there is to it.

But if that's your conclusion, you're underestimating both God's purposes and your potential. Divine interruption isn't punishment. It's an act of love to keep you from going any further in your error. And it's evidence of God's ongoing interest in you and your future.

"As many as I love," Jesus said, "I rebuke and chasten" (Revelation 3:19). And on the subject of chastening---as in correcting---the author of Hebrews points out: "But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons" (12:8).

Look at it another way. When a racer's vehicle needs repair, he doesn't junk it. He pulls it over for a pit stop, and he certainly doesn't do that because he's finished with the vehicle. Just the opposite---he does it because he's not finished with it! It's a valuable car, and he has specific purposes in mind for it. After all, the pit stop isn't a junkyard but a place for repair and rebuilding.

When God interrupts you, He pulls you over for a pit stop. You're still a vehicle, your Driver has eternal purposes, and He's determined to see them fulfilled. So there's life after the pit stop.

Yes, it's a scary thing when your Father yanks you off your bike and lets your sin be found out. But it's scarier if He doesn't, because what would that say about you? If God isn't chastening you, then He isn't Fathering you; if He isn't Fathering you, then you don't belong to Him. So this isn't punishment; it's proof of ownership. And what often brings it about is a crisis of truth that generates unpleasant but necessary pain.


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