When I was about 13 years old, my parents gave me money to go rent a video to watch (yup, back when we used VCR's!).
I stopped by the supermarket to maybe get something to eat, but all I remember is that the next thing I did was see some colored gel pens that I liked and decided to take them.
Yes, take them. Not buy them, but take.
I put them in my jacket pocket, and put the packet in the store by the shoe section.
A lady asks me about the empty packet and I tell her I didn't know where the pens were. Being a bad liar, I 'fessed up and gave her the pens.
She took me to the manager and they called my rents.
Of course you know what happened there...
This is like the story of David.
As I read an article I saw sent to my e-mail, I started thinking of my own sins and how far I'd gone in my own sins.
I took a pause, and thought, and then the Lord encouraged me. He told me to read the story of David and Bathsheba.
In 2 Samuel 11, David sees Bathsheba taking a shower and sends his messengers to get her. He sleeps with her. Some time later, Bethsheba tells David that she's pregnant.
Long story short, David slept with a married woman. Her husband had gone off to war to fight in David's army. Trying to hide it all, David tries to deceive Bethsheba's husband by getting him drunk so he could go and sleep with his wife (so he'd think it was his baby), but the plan doesn't work. He then sends a letter where he instructs his military commander to put Bethsheba's husband in the front line of the battle where the fighting would be fiercest (i.e. to have him killed in battle). This plan worked.
In 2 Samuel 12, the Lord sends a prophet named Nathan to tell David that what he did was wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Nathan, however, first tells him a story, so David could really get it:
"The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (v. 1-6)
Nathan tells David, "You are the man..."
Human judgement said, "the man who did this must die!"
Godly judgement reacts and says, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die" 2 Samuel 12: 13b
Aren't we glad that even though we deserve to die for our sins, that we don't?
Human judgement comes in and says, "the man must pay for that lamb four times over." (verse 6)
Godly judgement shows that you don't have to pay. He paid for our penalties.
At 13, the manager at the store told me that he wouldn't tell the police, but that we'd just have to pay the fee for the pens and for stealing.
At that age you feel petrified and it makes you not want to do it again!
Boy was I glad!
Of course I still had to bear the consequence for doing what I did. David had to bear his too, but I was more glad that the fee had been paid for, and I'm sure he was too.
That's what God did for you and me. He paid for our sins.
When the enemy came in to tell us that we were guilty and deserving death, Jesus came in and said, "I'll pay the price. It's been cleared, you don't have to send them anywhere."
Boy am I glad that He died for you and me!
So the next time you feel guilty about what you did, remember that Jesus died for your sins and you have been set free.
Of course we need to repent and ask for forgiveness, but we shouldn't live in that regret and guilt any longer after we've been reprimanded because you've been set free.
After the fact, God is able to restore you completely.
"Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed." -John 8:36