Is sin a private matter?

Is sin a private matter? I’m sure we’d all like it to be but unfortunately, that’s not the case.If King David were to know 3000 years later we’d be reading the record we have at our disposal from 2 Samuel 11 and 12, he might still wince at therecounting of his transgressions. You’d think with the news feeds we have today and the never sleeping eye of social media, notables would be a mite more concerned or at least more discreet about their private lives potentially making headlines.

The fact is, our behavior matters and our actions ultimately do affect others. David thought he could hide his sin from public view by secretly compounding sin upon sin. Maybe we all have been guilty before by trying to use a rug to hide our “dirt.” Just as David admitted in verse 13, “I have sinned against the Lord,” so we too, in our sin, sin first against our heavenly Father and do evil in His eyes, despising His instruction. Does that sound too harsh or lofty to you? My sin against you is small in magnitude compared to its offense against the Holy One.

We have all heard people scoff about the “church” and about Christians. Those of the unbelieving world are our critics, and they rightly point to our shortcoming, our hypocrisies, and our failures to do as we say the word of God directs us. They are hungry to see what righteousness and ethical consistency looks like, and when we disappoint through our words and examples they see less hope of ever witnessing the purity and beauty of what our God calls us to. As with David’s actions, we provide an excuse for the enemies of the Lord to show contempt for Him and the righteousness He expects to see us demonstrate to the watching world.

David couldn’t have fooled as many people as he hoped to fool. People can do the math and are aware of the birth cycle. Even his new wife, Bathsheba, may have eventually become aware of the real reason her husband, Uriah, perished. Regardless, David had to continually live with his conscience knowing how he deceived Bathsheba. How could his relationship with her ever be all he desired, hoping to keep such a treacherous secret from her? Sins are hard to cover up and David’s attempt was probably futile. His enemies would gloat that a “godly” king was caught in a sin which dishonored his God. Pagans could claim this king was no better than they were. David’s subjects would view him as a hypocrite. How far he had fallen.

Our sin is no different, though our public profile may be at a lower level. Sin always carries a price tag in this life although the eternal penalty has been paid. First, at a greater cost than we may recognize, it separates us from God. There is usually collateral damage as well though we may not evidence it at the moment like David did. In David’s case, calamity was brought to his house. He would be dishonored by his son and would eventually forfeit this relationship, fleeing for his life. Tragically, the innocent baby born to him and Bathsheba would die as part of God’s judgment.

Notice two things worth remembering. First, David repented and acknowledged his sin. Second, despite the heinous nature of David’s sin and the position he held, the Lord took away his sin. (v.13)This remarkable forgiveness is also true for us despite our darkest moments. The Lord restored David and blessed him and Bathsheba with another child. As David’s senses returned, his mourning complete, he did what kings were called to do in the spring, he joined his army in battle. This story illustrates how painfully honest the Bible can be in its depiction of the horror and consequences of sin. It can cause us to wonder about innocents being stricken due to the sins of others. For the repentant, like David, such tragedy can be the turning point to spiritual restoration. For all of us, we can be grateful that though we may greatly grieve God though our actions, He is faithful to forgive. Think About It.