life does not turn out as one had hoped. One may feel a deep sense of
failure as the years pass. Youth has come and gone; the direction of
life has been set. It is too late to change course. As has been often
commented we sometimes feel like saying, ‘How could we lose when we were so sincere?‘ Maybe you feel the same way at this moment.
may be that you have committed serious sin, deliberate wilful rebellion
against the laws of God. Sin weighs on the conscience like a heavy
millstone. With David you cry out, ’My sin is always before me!’,
Ps. 51. 3 NKJV. It may be adultery, like David, or a dishonest business
deal, or a lie that was very destructive. You lie awake at night,
tossing and turning, wishing you could live that scene over again and
do what is right. But it is done and the memory eats like a canker at
Do what David did. Confess your sin to God and to those you wronged. ‘I
acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against
You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in your sight’, Ps. 51. 3-4. Spell it out in all of its lurid details to God. Confess your sin; do not cover it.
Then you must believe that God has forgiven you, that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin, 1 John 1. 7. Christ’s
death has sufficient value to make propitiation for the sins of the
whole world, 1 John 2. 2. Surely His blood covers your sins, heavy
though they may seem to you. In faith claim God’s
promise and cling to the cross for forgiveness. Allow the love and
forgiveness of God to bathe your soul. The only source of healing from
sin is at the cross.
But someone will say, ‘I believe God has forgiven me but I cannot forgive myself’.
They cannot seem to get beyond the past and its failure; they have to
live with certain consequences that tear at their soul. It may be a
ruined marriage or destroyed health. Sin can be forgiven but certain
earthly consequences have to be endured.
It must be remembered that when the Lord forgives He does not bring up the failure again. ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us’, Ps. 103. 12. When Satan would come with his accusations and torment your soul, you must cling to God’s word and bid the accuser depart. With God’s
help you can set aside the things that are behind and press on in the
Christian race toward Christ. As we discipline our minds not to dwell
on the past, the memories will recede. With God’s help and the support of His people, our thoughts can be brought, ‘into captivity to the obedience of Christ‘, 2 Cor. 10. 5. Blessed submission!
Besides deliberate sins, known sins, there are sins of ignorance. The law provided offerings for such. ‘And if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the Lord has spoken to Moses‘, Num. 15. 22. It is possible to do certain things contrary to God’s
word simply because one is ignorant. A Christian woman married an
unbeliever and knew the heartache of a divided home, which finally
ruptured in divorce. She said, ’Oh, if only someone had told me what the Bible says about marriage to unbelievers!’ Under
the Old Covenant once again the blood of sacrifice was needed and today
the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. But you may still have to
live with certain consequences of your action.
may make certain poor choices. Hindsight is always easier than
foresight! In marriage both may be Christians but still are not an
equal yoke, a compatible team. Their spiritual vision may not be the
same; their temperaments too radically different. When considering
marriage it is wise to get the advice of parents and of elders in your
fellowship. ‘Where there is no counsel the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety‘, Prov. 11. 14.
This is also true concerning one’s choice of a trade or profession. Get advice that will point you toward spiritual values. Do not allow money to be your sole criterion.
you chose the location where you will live and bring up your family, be
careful. Again, do not be too proud to take the advice of spiritual men
and women. Be sure you live near an assembly of Christians with whom
you can be wholehearted in your fellowship. Climate and recreation
should not be first in one’s thinking. Many a family has later regretted a wrong move.
But you say, ‘I have made mistakes and it is too late to change those choices’.
Once again, one can confess his error and ask forgiveness. Then it is
time to do what is right and trust God to overrule the failure. ‘We know that all things work together for good to those who love God‘, Rom. 8. 28. Perhaps your marriage was not the best. Trust God to make it beautiful as you respond in a right
way towards your spouse. Determine to love God and to obey His word.
Healing and blessing can and will come into your relationship. right
way towards your spouse. Determine to love God and to obey His word.
Healing and blessing can and will come into your relationship.
At times the cruel blows of life leave one feeling like Job, ‘May the day perish in which I was born’, Job 3. 3. Life can become a fearful burden and one can even long for death.
may be that some accident or illness has left you permanently
handicapped. Life used to be simple; now every move is an effort. A
friend was in a car accident with a train. His wife was instantly
killed; he was left paralysed. His first question when he became
conscious was, ‘Why?‘ He
longed for death. His daughter who was nine years old still weeps for
her mother. Why indeed? Guilt tears at his soul as he constantly cries,
’If only I’d been more careful’.
It may be a terminal illness. At times this may have been caused by one’s carelessness or abuse of the body, perhaps in unsaved days. If only I had been wearing my seat belt! If only I had not been drinking!
at times there is a degenerating illness that just happens. It is part
of living in a fallen world that is marked by sin, illness and death.
One may be living for God and become terminally ill or crippled. The
temptation may be to accuse God, ‘Why did You do this to me?‘ One must resist this temptation and realize that God is not the source of evil or pain. Paul spoke of his physical problem as a ‘messenger of Satan’. Job was troubled by Satan ‘who went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with painful boils‘, Job 2. 7. In such circumstances one must ask God for the grace to endure and to respond in a godly way.
Divorce can be worse than the death of a spouse. We may feel it could have been averted if only they had been more loving
and considerate. The sense of rejection and failure can be
overwhelming. If every effort has been made for reconciliation and
still there is rejection, one must learn to accept the situation and
determine to go on for the Lord. The soothing love and acceptance of God’s people can do wonders in healing. Find healing too in helping others who are struggling with similar problems in life.
may know the deep sorrow of a child that wanders far from God. Perhaps
your son in his rebellion has become sexually promiscuous or a
homosexual. A daughter has become involved in drinking or drugs and is
breaking your heart. In this fragmented, confused society many are
choosing a life style that is utterly destructive. As a parent you feel
a load of guilt and responsibility. Maybe you are responsible for the
tragedy of your child’s
life. As Christian parents we must train our children as best we can.
There needs to be loving discipline in a home and the daily reading of
God’s word. A family should be faithful in attendance at their local church and seek Christian
friends for their children. While children are young, parents can
control them and make choices for them. However, as they reach their
teen years and finally leave home, parents come to realize that their
control is gone. They can pray and give advice, if it is requested, but
they cannot enforce obedience.
While it is true that environment and training influence decisions, the Bible does not teach a determinism where every person’s
decisions are determined by the experiences of life. Ultimately what a
person does is the result of his choice and he may choose to go against
his training or experience in life. A criminal cannot evade
responsibility for a crime simply because of his home training.
one of us is responsible for his own choices and will give account to
God for them. We must do all we can to be a positive influence in the
lives of others, but we cannot take responsibility for their choices.
The man whose wife leaves him for another man should not continue to
carry a load of guilt for the failure of his marriage. Parents who have
children that have made poor choices should not constantly feel a load
of guilt. This denies others their true personhood and responsibility
as made in the image of God. Know God’s forgiveness for your own failures but allow others the dignity of responsibility for their choices and actions. ‘So then each of us shall give account of himself to God‘, Rom. 14. 12; cf. Ezek. 18. 20.
THE LOVE OF GOD
Self-occupation is miserable business. To be looking back constantly and dwelling upon one’s failures is not constructive. By God’s grace we must learn to accept God’s forgiveness and begin to enjoy His love and acceptance. Paul rejoiced in the love of God and declared that nothing ‘shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord‘, Rom. 8. 39. God’s
love is a healing balm poured into the wounds of sin. It enables you to
realize that life is worth living and that you can be a blessing and
help to others.
we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let
us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and
let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Heb. 12. 1.