Healing Relationships through Forgiveness: We Must Recognize our Sin is First against God - Principle 1

Have you ever had a conversation with your spouse or partner that went something like the following:

"And I will tell you something else! No, that's not the way it was! No, that's
what you think it was! That really wasn't the way we had decided! No, I'm not
going to do it! No, that's not the way we had decided to do it! From the beginning…'

Excuse me, you just caught me in the middle of an argument with my wife. I'm sure you know what's going to happen in about 30 minutes. When I'm all done, I'm going to be sitting there and I'm going to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and I'm going to say to myself what did I do? Now, I've got to go back and work things out with my wife. This is called in the Bible "reconciliation" and many people who come to me in counseling have problems in relationships. God's one and only solution to the problems in relationships is "reconciliation ." Hello, my name is Dr. Donald Jones and welcome to "Ten Minutes of Counseling from the Bible."

In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus tells us that if you're going to the temple and you suddenly remember that that you have a brother who has something against you, you must not proceed to the temple, but instead go back and reconcile with your brother. What Jesus is saying that reconciliation of relationships are a priority. Before you go to God you need to reconcile with your brother. Before you can serve God, you must reconcile with your brother. Today, we come to principle one in our series on "Forgiveness and Reconciliation." Principle 1: We must recognize that our sin is first against God." Yes, I am arguing with my wife. Yes, I violated the relationship that we have, but that's not the first issue. My relationship with Almighty God, my relationship with my Master and Lord comes first. As I am arguing with my wife, I am actually violating my relationship with God first. Why? It is His standards that I am violating. Therefore, before I go to my wife, I must deal with Him. First, I must recognize I am sinning against Him. This is found in Psalm 51:4. David has just committed the sins of adultery and murder which have been exposed. Read what he says.

"Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight."
Psalm 51:4

In another Psalm David again states this simple principle.

"I said, 'Yahweh, have mercy on me! Heal me, for I have sinned against you.'"
Psalm 41:4

The story of these sins David has committed is found in 2 Samuel 11-12. David was the second King of Israel and a great King. It says in in this passage that in the days in which they went out to battle when the weather was good, David decided to stay in Jerusalem and not go out to battle. One night he was up on his roof and he was looking around. They used the roof much like we use a porch or backyard patio today. He was looking around and saw bathing on the roof of her house a beautiful woman.

He looked at her and wanted her. David was an all-powerful King and could do whatever you wanted, so he simply asked for her. He sent his servants to bring her to him. She came and she slept with him. Afterward, he sent her on her way thinking everything would be fine. He had sinned, so what, no problem. Sometime later, one of her messengers arrived and told the king, Bathsheba was pregnant. Now, what was David going to do? The first thing he did was to do what many people do - try to cover it up. So he gets a great idea. He will call her husband, Uriah, back from the battlefield and her husband will sleep with Bathsheba. Then he will think it's his kid. Nice! So King David directs his commander Joab to return Uriah to him. Uriah comes into his palace and David casually asks Uriah how the battle is going (making small talk before he tells him to go home). After he is finished, David suggests that Uriah return home, get cleaned up, and spend some time with his wife. He certainly deserves it. Afterward Uriah can spend some time with the King himself. David bids him goodbye and Uriah leaves. Unfortunately for David, Uriah is an honorable man and instead of returning home, he sleeps at the door of the king’s house with the king’s servants. David was positive that Uriah would go into his house and sleep with his wife solving all his problems. When David is informed that Uriah did not return home, he summons Uriah and questions him. I’m sure he was trying to intimidate him into returning home. Uriah responds by indicating that he could not take any pleasures while the Ark in Israel was under siege and his fellow soldiers were still in battle. It wouldn’t be honorable.

Now what is the king going to do? So David conjures up another idea, he’ll have Uriah stay in his house a couple of night and get Uriah drunk, then he will sleep with Bathsheba! So he invites Uriah to his table. Of course, I’m sure the wine is flowing. The scripture says that David made him drunk. David probably kept insisting that Uriah drink more and more, even over Uriah’s protests. When Uriah left, David felt that his plans would finally be completed. Unfortunately again, even in an inebriated state, Uriah did not return home. At this point, David was done trying to coerce Uriah to sleep with his wife. He wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah back to the battlefield. Uriah doesn’t even realize that in the letter David asked Joab to place Uriah on the front lines and then to have the other soldiers withdraw leaving him to face the enemy alone and certain death. This will make it look like he was killed in battle and then David can take Bathsheba as his wife and raise the child. When the news came that Uriah had been killed, it was finally over. So David thought. So after the time of Bathsheba’s mourning was over, Bathsheba became David’s wife. Problem solved. Sigh of relief, but only for a moment.

Big problem! God almighty has viewed the entire mess and it was evil in His sight. When no one was looking, God was still there. God sends the prophet Nathan to indict David. Nathan enters under the guise of seeking David’s advice concerning a situation between two men. Nathan tells David that in a city was a rich man and poor man. The rich man had much wealth, but the poor man had only a little ewe lamb. The poor man loved this lamb and treated it like his own child. When a traveler came to stay at the rich man’s house, instead of taking a lamb from his many flocks, he took the poor man’s lamb and served it to the traveler. David immediately declared that the rich man should be killed, but before he dies, he should make restitution fourfold for what he had done. Nathan looked at him and declared that David was the man. God asked David through Nathan why he had done such an evil thing in His sight. You see, we are always in His sight! With this a series of judgments were pronounced on David.

After this David repented and this is when he wrote Psalm 51. He didn't rush off to reconcile with Bathsheba or the family of Uriah or the family of Bathsheba or anyone else first. He had to face God. The first thing we’ve got to do when we’re dealing with sin that we commit in a relationship is to reconcile with God. We must go to God and admit that we have sinned and deal with Almighty God first. Then and only then can we deal with the one we have hurt by our actions. This reconciliation led to many wonderful results which he writes in verses seven to thirteen.

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all of my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Don’t throw me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways. Sinners shall be converted to you.
Psalm 51:7-13
When we reconcile with God first, joy comes and a settling of our spirit. Then we can go and deal with the other person we have hurt. Isn't that amazing? Isn't that exciting? This is one of principles I share with clients who have broken relationships. They need to take the responsibility for whatever sinful actions they have committed and reconcile with God first.
This is Dr. Donald Jones. May the Lord bless you as you follow Him!

All Bible quotes are from the World English Bible (WEB).

© Donald E. Jones PhD 2013