Making Peace With Sin (Guest Post)
Like a raging fire within me, I despised my past with a vitriolic hatred. Sinful pleasures had betrayed me and I stood in my vineyard surveying its rotten crop. Mistakes proved plenteous and my past could never be revised. What is to be done with the remains of my now-barren life?
I’m not the only guy who’s ever made mistakes, and though I’m not a betting man, I’d wager that I won’t be the last.
My favorite person in Scripture is the mighty Joshua. Although the reason eludes me at present, I’ve always liked the guy. In fact, one of his mistakes became the very thing to help me discover my future amid the smoking embers of a ruined past.
While Joshua was undeniably a valiant leader, he apparently possessed a soft spot for travelers. We read in Joshua 9 where the enemies of God disguised themselves as distant travelers and approached Joshua for peace.
Man, they had a crafty story, too! They dressed up in ragged clothes, worn-out shoes, carried broken wine sacks, and grabbed some moldy bread. “See this bread?” they asked. “We grabbed it hot from the oven, but our journey was so long that it is now dry and moldy. See these shoes? They were new when we started, but alas, they nearly fall off our feet by reason of our difficult travels.”
The Bible gives you some background info: they were locals from Canaan!
Okay, so what does this have to do with my past? Well, these fraudulent men succeeded in their task: they tricked Israel into a non-aggression pact. This oath, by the way, was in direct disobedience to God’s command to Joshua. Just like Israel’s earlier defeat at Ai, this sticky situation arose from Joshua’s failure to consult God’s wisdom before making a move. Now Joshua finds himself bound by his word in a peace agreement with the enemies of Almighty God. The enemy was permitted peacefully into the camp!
Not so different from my own life. By cutting communications with my Commander, I lacked His wisdom and ended up making peace with His enemies, which led to my life of sin. By the time I realized my mistake, sin had been permitted into my life, taken hold, and I knew not what to do.
Like Joshua when he discovered the truth of his traveling guests, I was baffled how to reconcile the commandments of God with my alliance to sin. After all, neither their alliance nor my past could be undone.
His solution? “This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them” (Joshua 9:20-21).
So Joshua made a grave mistake. But that mistake was not the end of the world, his life, or his leadership. Also notice that Joshua did not try to cover the mistake or pretend it never happened. Rather, he acknowledged the mistake and turned it around to serve him moving forward.
Let me give you some encouragement: when I handed my broken life to Christ, He made something beautiful of it. Sure, my vessel was broken, but Christ made it anew so that it can be of use from now on. My past mistakes now serve a purpose in God’s Kingdom. I have been given many opportunities to help the hurting with the experience from my past.
Your mistakes aren’t the end. In the right hands—His hands—they can serve you well in the future. All things really do work together for the good of them that love God!
It encourages me to see stories from others, too. In what ways has God turned your past into a vessel of service?
Graphic designer, sound tech, and aspiring photographer, Joshua Agan is a fourth-generation preacher with a passion for teaching God’s word. When not coding a website or studying for a sermon, he is usually at the gun range or out driving faster than his mom would like.