Un-Sinning – Gary W. Summers

Gary W. Summers

Often, when people are on trial for things such as drunk driving, they are earnestly sorrowful and lament that they cannot take back their actions. One such individual recently said, “I cannot bring back your two sons.” This admission serves to highlight the problem we all face—once we have made a decision and performed deeds in harmony with that determination, we cannot un-sin. What can we do about it? Nothing!

No matter how much agony this woman experiences, the two children will remain dead. The guilty person might vow to never touch another drop of alcohol again— and keep that promise, but it will not change the situation one iota.

How many men or women have cheated on a spouse? Some have almost immediately been filled with remorse and chided themselves on their foolishness, but what was done could not be altered. The consequences always come upon the one who made the poor choice, whether it be pregnancy, disease, or divorce. All the devout wishes that we could somehow un-sin will be vain.

Does this seem like a bleak portrayal of life? Rather, it is realistic. Is there no recourse at all? Yes, the first one is preventive. Think about what you are doing. The words that you speak, for example, may wound so severely that a friendship is dissolved over it. It may feel good in the emotion of the moment to speak harshly, but the results of such hostility will linger.

If the man who committed adultery would have repressed his ego, the young woman who was flattering and flirting with him would have availed nothing. If a man held true to his convictions, he would not have allowed business associates to talk him into a shady scheme. so short-sighted that they cannot see past the covetousness of the moment?

First of all, whenever temptation presents itself, the first consideration for the Christian should be, this is a “sin against God” (Gen 39:9), which ought to be a sufficient motivation to refuse to engage in evil behavior. The second thought should be, “What will occur when my decision in this matter is discovered and the crime comes to light?” Too many people think their cleverness will ensure anonymity; even Christians may have forgotten what Moses announced to Israel: If their motives were impure, he assured them, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). The reason cited in the verse is that the Lord is aware of all things. No one is more shrewd than the Lord.

David had plenty of time, while he was waiting for Bathsheba to arrive, to contemplate how his wickedness would affect his relationship with God. He had a few moments to reflect on how the kingdom would be affected when his subjects learned the sordid truth. The best deterrent to sin is to think!

But what can be done once somebody made the decision to keep God out his life and disaster has now resulted? Although nothing can change the natural consequences, which one is simply forced to endure, much can be done regarding the future. The foremost thing to do is to repent. The contents of the whiskey bottle (or some equivalent) must be poured down the drain. Profanity must be immediately terminated. Adultery must cease—not taper off—cease! Many people feel bad because of what their actions have wrought, but they continue to practice the same sin—only to a lesser (perhaps, safer) degree. Genuine repentance is a turning away altogether from evil.

Second, pray for forgiveness, once the repentance has been inaugurated. Both John the baptizer and Paul the apostle spoke of bringing forth “fruits worthy of repentance” (Mat. 3:8; Acts 26:20). In other words, a positive course of conduct replaces that which damaged people’s lives. The grumbler begins to reorient his thinking by finding something to praise instead of something to complain about. God is willing to forgive when He sees repentance in action.

Third, work on overcoming whatever weakness brought about the problem in the first place. Many of these sins stem from a lust of the flesh. We must remind ourselves that the flesh is only a temporary abode for the spirit. Fleshly appetites will be irrelevant in eternity; surely we will wonder why we ever were willing to risk our salvation for something so temporary and inferior.

Those who covet wealth are pursuing that which is equally worthless. Those who desire power and control over others are ruled by Satan now and will be together with him and all his followers forever. Those who allow their pride to prevent them from seeing or admitting the sins they have committed will also be lost, since the first step to recovery is the admission of the problem.

Fourth, help others who may have the same weakness to overcome it. In some instances, the help may prevent others from being hurt. If a good friend had insisted on discussing with a potential drunk driver the dangers of her actions, perhaps those two children would still be alive. If an older brother or sister had taken aside a younger member in the church to caution him about adultery or covetousness, some families might have been spared much heartache.

Sins cannot be undone. Others are affected by our actions—perhaps, permanently so. All that we can do is to try to prevent them from occurring. If they have already happened, then all we can do is make the best of the situation by repenting, praying for forgiveness, changing our behavior, and trying to help others overcome the same sin by setting the right example and encouraging them along the paths of righteousness.

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Author: Editor

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