No one kicks us when we are down like ourselves. After David had committed adultery with Bathsheba he felt the devastation and consequence of sin. He cried out in Psalms 51, “For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.” Have you ever felt that way?
What was David’s greatest pain? Was it embarrassment? Was it because of his loss of credibility? I don’t think so. David’s greatest pain came from disappointing His heavenly Father, the separation he experienced because of his sin. He cried out in verse 9 of chapter 5, “Don’t keep looking at my sins…do not banish me from your presence”
The Bible tells us in Luke 17:3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins rebuke him and if he repents forgive him.” This verse is really about how our failure to forgive others is one way of provoking them to continue in sin. As the verse says, “Pay attention to yourselves…” We cannot help but pay attention to ourselves when we sin…because it hurts! So why do we feel it so necessary to point out the sins of others? When we sin we are very aware of it. If you are very aware of your shortcomings and failings, don’t you think others are very aware of theirs?
That is why Christ continues to commission us to forgive, forgive, and forgive some more. Because it is through an attitude of forgiveness that people experience the love and character of Christ. And it is through the love and character of Christ that people change.
When Jesus invited himself over to the home of Zacchaeus, he didn’t point out everything Zacchaeus was doing wrong. Jesus knew that Zacchaeus knew what he was doing wrong, along with everyone else in Jericho. It wasn’t words of condemnation, or rebuke, that brought salvation to Zacchaeus home that day. It was the gentle love and friendship of Jesus. It was an experience with the Gospel. Rather than giving Zacchaeus what he deserved, Jesus would take the ultimate penalty of our sins to the cross. He told Zacchaeus to come down off the tree, so that he could climb it in his place, on Calvary. And because Zacchaeus experienced that he was changed. “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9–10
Next time you know a brother or sister is struggling with a particular sin. Rather than pointing it out to them, (I’m sure they already know) spend time with them. Let the Holy Spirit continue working on that individual’s heart. Allow your love and kindness to be the catalyst that will plant the seed for true change!