If yesterday’s post on integrity generated some conviction, I am pleased. If it generated despair, I am not. The ideal of an intact life is not shared to club the fallen, but to inspire them to shrug off the sin that so easily entangles and pursue Christian maturity. I hope to see people make honest progress in their faith lives, and I don’t want people stuck in shame. So for those who feel despondent, I have good news. Duplicity may be your history, and the cumulative effects of sin may scar your past, but this need not dominate your story. There is still hope to restore what has been lost.
King David was as notorious as he was famous. His accomplishments on the battlefield were weighed against his crimes with Bathsheba. David was the classic story of a highly capable young man who accomplished amazing things, and achieved great fame only to let duplicity sully his reputation. The king was an adulterer and murderer. He was also a man of integrity. Notice the legacy David leaves behind.
As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever. (1 Kings 9:4)
And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:72)
How can we reconcile David’s horrible crimes with his spotless reputation? How does a man sworn to follow the decrees of God commit murder and adultery, and then end up being praised as a man of integrity? I believe the answer is this, “integrity is measured by a life, not a moment”. If David teaches us anything it is this, a life of integrity can be built on the ruins of past mistakes. The person who has lived a double life, and has wrecked their prospects, can still experience redemption. That’s why these passages are so exciting to me. They reveal that David’s integrity was renewed, and they infer that we also can recover a life of integrity.
The benefits of restoration always begin with repentance. We must confront the sin in our lives, and confess our wrongs to those we have injured. This is a difficult course and most of us would like to avoid it. But avoidance does nothing to change the heart, and left alone it will revert to deceit. For those who are willing to be humble, and admit wrongdoing, God is willing to forgive sin and redirect them on the way of integrity.
If God has used these posts to convict you of your hidden sin life, I am pleased. But to make my joy complete, I would hope to see you fully restored. My prayer is that your sorrow will drive you to repentance, and through God’s forgiveness you will become whole.