Posted by: Rex Boyles | September 25, 2007

“What do I do now?”

She was hurting. You could see it in her face. You could see the pain in her eyes … with the tears. She was having a hard time breathing. I know how she felt. I remember. She had sinned, and everybody knew it, and so did her husband … her children … her parents … her friends … her church … everybody. She wasn’t allowed to see her children without supervision. She was guilty, and there was nothing she could do to take it back … nothing she could do to make it right.  


When she finally could get her breath, she asked; “What do I do now?”  


When I asked that same question, I was told, “You need to just get over it.” (I wish it would work that way.) I heard that another person, asking it, was told, “You need to wallow in your sins for awhile, until you learn to do better.” (My heart still aches for that young lady.) I was even told, “Just be content with your life as it is now.” (My impression was that he meant to “put me in my place”. He didn’t have to worry, I felt more hopeless that even intended me to be.) 


So what would you tell her? How would you answer her question? 


I make no claims to wisdom – not even any unique insight from experience – but I learned a long time ago, that if I could find the same person in the Bible that I had sitting with me, I had God’s inspired advice for them. I was never very smart, but I was smart enough to realize that the Father knows best. 


So, what does she do now? 


She does what David did … what I wanted to do; she: 


Make things right with God. (Psalms 51:1-6) 

Confess it … all of it. Do not hide. Do not make excuses. Do not look for loop-holes … just be honest about it. Others were hurt, but the truth is that we sinned against the Lord, “against you (the Lord) only”. There is no way we can make it right … so all that we can do is to beg His mercy … His compassion … His cleansing. He can … He will. 


Make things right with Others. (Psalms 51:7-9) 


“Cleanse me with hyssop.” That phrase speaks of a “cleansing” that restores fellowship not only with God but with God’s people. When we sin – especially in this way – we hurt others. We cannot take back the sin. We cannot undo the hurt; but we can apologize … with a broken and contrite heart … without excuses. Some will forgive … others will keep a record of the wrongs … while others will struggle to know what to say or how to act. No matter … we must do what we can to make things right with those we hurt. 


Make things right with Yourself. (Psalms 51:10-12) 


The Lord is full of mercy and grace, and so are all who agree with God. Others will be hateful and resent that we have received a “welcome home”. But the place where we will have the most anger, disgust, resentment … is in our own hearts. So our prayer will be … over and over again … “restore to me the joy of your salvation”. It will take time … if it ever comes … but our hope in the Lord is that He, who could create the heavens and earth, can create in us a “pure heart” … that He, who could restore an adulterous king or a fallen disciple, can do the same for us. He is greater than our hearts. 


Make things right with Sinners.  (Psalms 51:13-17) 


It is not just some “bargain” that we make with God. It is our vow. We have been there … done that … therefore, we will “seek” those sinners … teach them the ways of God – not our ways, how we got out of this or that – God ways. We will show them the mercy … compassion … cleansing of God … and as their hearts are broken – as they come to their senses … we will help them find their way home. Then together we can “declare your praise” on earth as it is in heaven.


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