Friday, October 29, 2010

Can Someone Who Has Messed Up Her Life Be Used by God?

A friend has had a difficult few months. In July, his wife left him and their children after committing adultery. He has been sharing his problems with me. We have been praying for reconciliation. A few weeks ago, she returned to him.

Today, he came to me with a question. He told me that his wife feels terrible about what she has done. She is depressed, feeling like the Lord cannot accept her and use her in his service anymore. My friend asked me, "Does the Bible say anything about God being able to use someone who has messed up her life?"

Immediately, I told him about the time that King David messed up his life. One night when he had little to do, King David caught a glimpse of a beautiful young woman. He decided to seduce her. They committed adultery. Not long afterward, they discovered that she was pregnant. After failing in a scheme to cover it up, King David arranged to have her husband killed. Then he married the young woman. (See 2 Samuel 11.)

Eventually, a prophet confronted the king about his sins (2 Samuel 12). David was humiliated by his sins. He repented and confessed his guilt. Although he lived with some awful consequences, he was forgiven by God.

In fact, he was not only forgiven; God continued to use him in writing portions of the Bible. After he had repented, King David wrote Psalm 51.

"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

"For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment...

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

"Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you...

"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise...

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God,
you will not despise" (Psalm 51:1-4, 10-13, 15, 17).


God used a messed-up, forgiven man in amazing ways. He can used messed-up, forgiven people today in amazing ways, too.

My friend's wife is in an excellent position to be used by God. He does not despise her broken and contrite heart. He loves her.

4 comments:

Warren Baldwin said...

Terry,
YOu have given some excellent advice and counsel here. I hope she will listen. But, unfortunately, sometimes the shame is so deep that the logic and common sense of good counsel, even biblical counsel, has a hard time being heard and accepted. I'm dealing with that right now, too.

I just got a book called Confessions of a Good Christian Girl by Tammy Maltby that deals with issues of shame in women who have sinned. I haven't read it yet; just looked through it. But, it looks like she deals with some of these issues.

It would be interesting to read how this couple is doing if you can post about it in a few weeks (and please let me know if you do).

Good job of ministry.

wb

Terry said...

Thanks, Warren. I'll try to find that book in a bookstore. And I'll try to let you know how they are doing in a few weeks. I'm praying that they will be able to recover fully. They have made a lot of progress already, but they have some more progress to make. Hopefully, they will keep going.

reborn1995 said...

Terry,

What a desperately important lesson for everyone in every church! Over my years in different churches, i still encounter such a strong sentiment that people with "dirty" or "scandalous" pasts or struggles or issues just aren't fit to serve God. They can sit in a pew and think about what they've done for the rest of their life. But they shouldn't be allowed to go any farther than that.

i tell you, if Jesus had thought that way, i daresay there would've been no leaders at all in the first century church!!! Our religion is based on the crucial tenet that God really can change people's hearts and lives. But so many of our expectations and perspectives and *especially our hiring criteria* suggest that we don't believe that tenet whatsoever. i've taught a teen class and actually heard one of the teens say clearly and distinctly that he'd grown up with the impression that "church" is not a place for people who have bad problems in their life. That's the most chilling and disturbing thing i've ever heard.

i'd say reversing that mentality is one of the most pressing needs of the church today! (And i shudder at the thought--if it were true, God would've kicked me out of the church years ago.)

--guy

Terry said...

Great thoughts, Guy. Thanks for sharing them!