Caught in the Act

Ezekiel 8:12Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”

It was a dare plain and simple.

Steal something from the news and hobby store and I’ll be accepted in the group. Back down, and I would be a coward. Peer pressure won over and I stepped through the doors of that shop and willingly committed my crime.

I looked around and no one was in the store. ‘Good’, I thought; then no one could see me. I reached out and grabbed the candy bar and made for the door. Just as I passed the threshold, I felt a hand on my shoulder yanking me back; “Come back here, you thief!”

The store owner had been watching all along. I found out later that he had watched us gather outside of the store as we conspired to do our evil deed.

The police were called and took me home to my parents. The guilt, the shame and regret that came over me was nothing compared to the spanking I received with a lilac switch!

Looking back, I learned a great lesson. The store owner had every right to do what he did. I crossed the line of honesty, decency and moral behavior. I was caught red-handed and exposed to the authorities. I received due correction and vowed in my heart never to do that again!

My mistake, if it could be called that, was thinking that no one was watching. I thought what I was doing was secret, solitary and undetected. When in fact, even if the store owner hadn’t caught me, God saw exactly what I had done.

2 Chronicles 16:9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”

I have come to realize that there is no hiding from God.

No words I would speak are kept from His hearing. No act done in secret is hid from His view. No thought of my heart escapes His notice. He knows the words I will speak – even before they leave my mouth.

When I sinned, it was as if I had done it in plain view in His presence.

Let that sink in a moment…

God saw everything. He didn’t need a backdoor password to retrieve the computer history you thought you erased. He was sitting right next to you and saw you click further into the depths of your sin. He saw as your hand reached out to take that which He calls abomination.

He saw as your heart stepped over the line in decision to go forward into sin instead of retreating in repentance.

If we could only see the disappointment on His face; the sorrow over our bad decision; the tears He cries over our disobedience.

If only sin would, to us, become exceedingly sinful!

Romans 7:13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”

If our hearts would be pricked with sorrow over how deeply we hurt the heart of God when we walk away from His presence to our own way.

We justify our actions – first to ourselves and then to God. We think He ought to wink at our sin and say it is okay… You really didn’t mean to do it, to go there, to choose what you did.

We try to play the victim. My parents. My upbringing. My culture, my neighborhood, my predisposition and peer pressure… We all have something to blame someone else other than taking responsibility for our actions.

David knew all too well that it was God he has sinned against. One of the greatest attributes of David’s character that God saw and called him a ‘man after God’s own heart’, was his sorrow over his sin and his confession and deep repentance.

Psalms 51:3-4For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Read that passage over again and think of yourself standing in front of a holy God; looking Him straight in the eyeball and saying those words. Those same eyes that can see inside your soul. Those same eyes that were there when we transgressed; when we crossed the line in our heart to decide to sin.

Friend, please understand… God does not desire, nor love to chasten us – but does so out of love.

Revelation 3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

It is the fruit of that repentance that God wants and loves.

The correction I received for my thievery might have seemed harsh to you. Handcuffing a 12 year old, putting him in the back of a squad car and driving him to his parents house to reveal the crime to them.

But the fruit of what happened that day kept me from continuing in a life of crime. I would hate to think what may have become of me had I not been caught and dealt with as I had!

God’s love goes far beyond the shame and guilt we might feel. It seeks the repentance and asks that we desire the cleansing that brings about a true and honest communication between us and a holy God.

When I am most honest and transparent to God is when I feel closest to Him. I know He knows all about me and there is comfort in that thought.

My Heavenly Father knows who I am in the innermost parts of me… and yet, He loves me! He has seen all that I have done; heard all that I have said; knows all my thoughts and yet, loves me with an everlasting love.

That love never diminishes, dwindles or dies. How can we not help but fall into His arms and receive the forgiveness and cleansing we so desperately need?!

Oh, dear child of God, wait not another moment. Go to your prayer closet and humbly confess and repent all that He would bring to your mind.

You will then experience a closeness of His presence that will cause you to desire it more and more. Whatever it is that keeps you from desiring that presence is sin. Ask God to help you and you will find that He will help to clear the pathway to Himself.

James 4:8-10Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

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