Receiving God’s Mercy

When I was in high school, my English teacher had our class read “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The main character, Hester Prynne, had a baby out of wedlock in Puritan New England. She was shunned by the town and was forced to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her clothing for “adulteress”. No matter how much they pressed her, she would not reveal the father. It wasn’t until the end that it was the town reverend, Arthur Dimmesdale, who fathered her child. His guilt was eating him up inside and killing him. As he lay dying, he opened his shirt to reveal to all that he had a scarlet “A” on his chest. He lived with an unconfessed, hidden sin that destroyed him, his life and the life he could have lived.

Not long after Israel defeated Jericho, they headed for the city of Ai. They were feeling confident in God and themselves. They only sent a few thousand mento fight this battle. What they didn’t know was that Achan had kept something from Jericho that God had said to set apart for Himself. The men were defeated and ran back afraid. A Hans hidden sun had kept them from victory. When Joshua went to the Lord, he was led to Achan’s tent where he had buried the object. While no one else knew about his hidden sin, God did. Once it was brought to light and handled, the Israelites went back to Ai and won the victory.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy” (NLT). Since sin entered the world, it has tried to get us to hide it from others and God. As long as it is hidden, it has power and control over us. Revealing it to God and others breaks that power and we receive forgiveness. Don’t listen to the lie that you will never be forgiven for it or that no one will accept you. Those lies are to hold you back in fear and away from all that God has for you. Like Arthur Dimmesdale, it will eat you up,inside. Like the Israelites, it will keep you from victory. When you confess it, you will receive God’s mercy and His blessings will return.

Photo by Daniel Joshua on Unsplash

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