Our Sin Touches Everyone We Touch
Following the numbering of the children of Israel, David’s heart condemned him (2 Sam. 24:10). God sends Gad to tell David that he would be punished. God offers David three choices (2 Sam. 24:11-14). The offers were seven years of famine, flee three months before the enemy while they pursued him or for three days there would be a plague in the land. David appeals to the mercy of God not to let him fall into enemy hands. So, the Lord sent a plague upon Israel and seventy thousand people died. (2 Sam. 24:15). David said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house” (2 Sam. 24:17).
This story is fascinating. It is important that we recognize when we have sinned. Our conscience needs to prick us, sharply. If we do not acknowledge when we sin, we will never be able to receive the help we need. Sin that is not acknowledged continues to destroy our conscience. Continued involvement in sin desensitizes our hearts and damages our soul. That is what Satan wants. Satan does not care if the sin is indifference, lying, adultery, hate, or strife; he wants to blind us. Until we see the need, we will never take the necessary steps to seek a solution. It takes no courage to refuse to admit the need. It is hard to deal with our own sins. It requires a humble spirit. It takes a willingness to put God’s will above our own. That path leads to self-destruction.
This story is also fascinating because it shows us that David’s sin affected others. Seventy thousand people died as a result of David’s sin. Maybe our sin will not cost seventy thousand people their lives, but if it cost one person their soul, that is one too many. Our sins touch everybody that touch us. Nobody sins in a vacuum. The poisonous tentacles reach far. We may think it is simply our business and no one else’s. No, if we touch people, our sin touches them. Sin is the ultimate selfish, prideful act. Sin is saying, “My will is more important than God’s will.” Also, “My wants are more important than the welfare of those who touch me.” The seventy thousand had done nothing wrong, but they paid the cost.
Consider, how many times has a home been broken because of the selfish act of infidelity? The innocent suffers the consequences. They never asked to have their heart and lives shattered. Those consequences continue for a generation. On another occasion, David’s sin resulted in his whole family being affected. In a few instances, death was the result. In another, it was rape. In yet another, it was insurrection in his own kingdom by his own son. Our sin does not affect us alone.
Perhaps a man takes the bottle and the family endures his addiction. It may happen quietly, but the influence is impressed on the innocent. Often, the family finances are wasted, and the innocent suffer by doing without.
Again, maybe it is thoughtless flirtation that started out innocent, but progressed to a deeper relationship. The innocent wife never asked to be emotionally betrayed. She never asked for the hurt and pain. She never asked to be placed second. The kids never asked to see the parents estranged in the same house. Sin touches everyone who touches us.
Finally, maybe the thing that bears destructive consequences is something I can do in all good conscience, but the very act influences another with a weaker conscience to follow my example. In so doing, they sin against their own conscience. I have become a stumbling block to them. Maybe I am the strong one, but my actions cause the weak to fall. I can’t just say, “Well, that is their problem, not mine.” That is not how God saw it. He said to do so is to destroy the one for whom Christ died (Rom. 14:16-17). Surely no one would be so hard-hearted to excuse causing another to sin. What if it is my mate, my children, my extended family, or my brethren? What if it is someone in our community?
Maybe we, like David, have sinned. We have seen the shattering effects in those closest to us. What will we do? Will we persist in our own way? Will we do as David did and repent? Will we plead for God’s mercy? We pray to God for whatever the penalty may be, to let it be upon on us, not those we touch. Let the guilt and shame be upon us, not the innocent. Let Your hand, I pray, be against me, not my house.