Week 19 Tuesday

Coming Clean

Today’s scripture selection: Second Samuel 10-14

Key verse: Second Samuel 12:13

“The David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’  Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.’”

We humans are great at rationalizing away our worst behavior.

King David had a real talent for this.  After arranging for the death of one his most faithful soldiers, so that he could steal the soldier’s wife, he tried to pretend he had done nothing wrong.  The prophet Nathan set him straight on that one.

Unlike a lot of people “caught” in their sin – David confessed his wrongdoing.  And, most important of all, he recognized that he had not only sinned against others – he had sinned against God.

And the prophet Nathan, while pointing out there would be serious consequences to come, told David he had received God’s forgiveness.

Did it mean that he could sin again without worrying about it?  No.  Did it mean he had “gotten away” with something – free of consequences?  No – in fact, there were some very painful days for David just ahead.

But, he was assured that by “coming clean” he would be able to start again – a fresh start – that was God’s response to David’s humble confession.

I find that very hopeful.  I am not promised that my wrong actions won’t have consequences – for others and me.  But I am promised that, if I recognize my faults and wrongdoings, God will help me set things right again.  I need not fear that I am doomed to live as an outcast and failure forever.  Every now and then, it’s a good thing to “come clean” before others – and especially before God.

A fresh start – it’s a wonderful thing.

Prayer: Lord, I know I am far from perfect.  Forgive me for the ways I have sinned against others and you.  And help me to do better in the future.  I thank you, Lord, that you are a God of grace.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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