Good news / Bad news about forgiveness

wild oatsI found a great message of encouragement but also a sobering warning – and I need both – in 1 Kings 21:25-29

(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

Ahab was unsurpassed in his evil yet, when he humbled himself before the Lord God spared him the full consequences of his sin. What a word to encourage the one who thinks he has wandered too far. Even Ahab was not beyond the grace of God. When he sincerely humbled himself he caught the eye and captured the mercy of God. But there is more …

Notice the seeds of destruction he had sown still did produce a harvest because of the law of sowing and reaping. Some of us want to sow our wild oats and then pray for a crop failure. It just doesn’t work that way. Even when forgiveness comes there is often a price to pay for our sin.

I know of men and women who behave this way in their marriage. They knowingly do things wrong with the plan of later simply asking for forgiveness knowing their spouse will forgive – and if forgiveness does not come readily the offender is armed with several passages of Scripture to “guilt” the offended spouse into forgiveness. They think they get away with the offense but do not realize there is always a harvest – even when full and godly forgiveness is present as in Ahab’s case. He was forgiven but “disaster” was still coming to his household. (see verse 29) Yes, your spouse may forgive but your selfishness has eroded trust, instilled insecurity and it will produce a harvest in ways you often do not even recognize are a result of your actions.

Good news, you are forgiven. Bad news, there still may be a harvest to reap for the seed you have sown. Conclusion, wisdom says be careful what you sow. Additionally, if you have a huge crop of evil seed you have sown, why not get busy planting 10 times that much good seed – sowing blessing, kindness, generosity, etc everywhere so when the harvest comes the crop of blessing will be so large it overwhelms the other.
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Galatians 6:7-10
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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