Sunday, January 26, 2014

Payment Is Due

Read: Psalm 51

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.             
Psalm 51:3 

     At your age you probably do not have many recurring monthly bills, but in a few short years you will. One of the worst feelings someone can have is to get the hospital bill or the bill for the car payment in the mail with the words in bold type, “Payment is due.” The billing agencies want to make sure you see that part. They want you to know that they need their money, and they need it now.
     Psalm 51 is known as one of the penitential psalms. King David, in an intense moment of weakness, committed a sin that haunted him for years to come. David was a powerful, brilliant, and wealthy man, but even he could not escape the consequences brought about by his dreadful lack of judgment. He suffered for years with the physical consequences of his actions, from grieving for the lost baby born to him and Bathsheba to losing his son Absalom. Perhaps David, like so many others, overlooked one of the most difficult consequences of all: the feelings of guilt that linger for years in the heart of the offender.
     God can forgive any sin no matter how wretched, and He certainly does; but, despite knowing that our sins are cleansed, it is very difficult for one to deal with the feelings of guilt over what has been done. David said that his sins were ever before him, and he wrote this psalm years after the act of sin was completed. Satan wants nothing more than for a saved young man to be useless to God years after he has done some wickedness because his feelings of guilt keep him from feeling like he can ever again accomplish something for God.
     Edgar Allen Poe, in the Telltale Heart, wrote a compelling story of a man so overcome by the guilt of a murder that he had committed that he could not bear to hear the pounding of the dead man’s heart in his ears as he was being investigated. Those feelings of guilt led to him confessing to the crime and ultimately to his conviction.
     When fierce temptation burns upon your soul, carefully consider that not only must you deal with the physical repercussions, but also the emotional scars that could last for years. The devil promises hoards of pleasure to those who will give in to his fierce assaults, and he may deliver for a short time. But when the payment comes due, and the feelings of guilt sweep over the soul like a storm, we can easily conclude that sin is not worth the price.

Quote of the day: “Let wickedness escape as it may at the bar, it never fails of doing justice upon itself; for every guilty person is his own hangman.”        -Seneca

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