Friday, August 13, 2010

working on my faith – part one

When I was in school I cheated on several tests.  Writing the answers out on the desk and using my arm to cover them up as the teacher passed out the papers.  I even had a little system in English class and cheated on several tests there.    I continued cheating in high school, I remember in English class using my best friends vocabulary book for the answers because she had English class earlier in the day.  I also remember using my graphing calculator in Geometry to cheat on those tests as well.  Every grade I got was an A.  I never got caught.  This is good things happening to bad people.  Cheating is bad no matter how you look at it, so why was I getting away with it and making passing grades?  This only made me keep doing it because I never got caught.  I was prospering from sin. 

When I was in high school I met a girl and we became best friends.  We would spend every waking minute together when school was out.  We stole hundreds of dollars worth of clothes from the local mall.  Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi, Bongo, we had all the name brands.  We had a system down pat.  Then one day we made a slip up and the security guard nearly caught us.  We never did it again.  I am thankful that God stepped in our paths because there was a certain “high” that we got from getting away with it and there is no telling how much longer we would have kept up with it.  Justice was never served because we didn’t get in trouble but it was the fact that we almost got caught that set us straight.  I never stole another thing again.

As I’ve gotten older and realized what I was doing was foolish and I am ashamed by it.  I have been forgiven and feel relieved.  I can honestly in my whole heart say that God has forgiven me for those sins, because I have never went back to doing those things. 

I am on the fence about how many times God will forgive you of a sin that you keep committing.  If we follow the scripture we can read that:

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
Matthew 18:21-22

So can we be forgiven 77 times?  Well I’d like to say yes, but then this is where it gets tricky, for myself at least.  Because you will also find that:

"if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1Jn 1:9

If we ask for forgiveness of a sin that we committed and are truly sincere than He shall forgive.  But what about repeat offenders?  Those that repeat the same sin over and over again.  Do they still get forgiven even though it’s the 15th time they’ve ask for forgiveness?  After all, how sincere can one actually be if they keep repeating the same sin and have to ask for forgiveness, time after time?

So where does all this go along with working on my faith?

Well as I have looked at the world around me there are people all over this Earth committing sins and getting away with them.  But the real problem I have is that they are getting away with these shameful acts and some are even prospering from them.  This is what makes me question my Faith.

I know that I am not to judge anybody for their actions, that is ultimately up to God.

"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."   Matthew 7:2-5

Because I am a sinner as well, I am above nobody else.  However it’s hard not to look at others and say “why do good things happen to bad people”?

We all {or at least I} think of bad things happening to those of us trying to live right as tests of our Faith.  God is just testing us because after all we know that according to the Bible:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Corinthians 10:13

So with that verse I can see how bad things happen to good people.  It’s our test of faith. 

But what about good things happening to bad people?

Stay tuned to part 2 as I am still working on my faith, this time looking at why good things happen to bad people.



Kelli said...

He does forgive over and over as long as it's sincere and we truly repent. Over & over...He's amazing.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Kelli...Btw,I had forgotten all about when you and "M" would shoplift.I do remember how shocked and sad I was when you told me about doing that.I know you were sincere about repenting and that's been forgiven you along with other things you have done.Just as long as you are truly repentant in whatever you do wrong,God in His wonderful grace is right there,willing to forgive (and remember,He also forgets our sins and remembers them no more).This is such a wonderful post and I'm so proud of you for writing it.I look forward to reading the next part.

A-K said...

Faith is a hard thing to figure out, first of wall...well, because it is faith and there are so many questions we want answered but can't and its just hard to comprehend. I do believe as long as someone is sincere he will forgive as many times.

We were born a sinner, we were a sinner before our mother's even considered conceiving. And always will be. The only way to be forgiven is through the blood of christ, so thankfully we have that :) That's the only difference.

Only God knows your heart, and it is individual from the next person. Thats why we have to focus on our own faith.

We all have done things we are ashamed of. Ashamed is the appropriate word, because if you didn't care you wouldn't feel that way.

Great studies and a wonderful way to look deeper and share with others! You may find something someone else is looking for as well, ya never know :)