We’ve all seen it before. That one person that seems to have everything and they seem to throw it away on a whim. You know, that person in power that you see on the news with the embarrassing headline and you think why on earth would you risk it all for that one moment? Names like David Weiner, Bill Clinton, General David Petraeus. Then there’s the stars that seem to have the glamorous life but lost theirs to drug addiction: Whitney Houston, Prince, Michael Jackson. What about young privileged kids that seem to have the world at their feet and instead make a choice to destroy it. Kids like Brock Turner or Joran Van Der Sloot, This week’s scripture is 2 Samuel. If King David lived in social media times we might have woken to the headline, “King David; death to Uriah, lust for Bathsheba.” They may have even gained one of those combination dating names of the rich and famous #Davsheba.
Here’s the thing about all of those headlines and King David. It was a long time coming. None of the falls from society’s grace happened overnight. In this life, we accomplish things. Great things. We get comfortable. We feel deserving. We take things for granted. Our pride grows. Our compassion shrinks. Our ego explodes. Complacency settles in and chokes out our desire to honor God. Complacency takes root in our hearts and temptations start to fester. It swallows up our purpose and spits out sin. We feel worthy and able on our own. We lose our dependence on God. We grow tired and without an ounce of intention our hearts drift from God’s purpose and seek our own. Our own happiness. Our own desires. Our own strength. Our thoughts, our hopes, our wants come first.
Complacency. It’s dangerous territory. We can learn many lessons from 2 Samuel and King David. There are signs before we go over the edge. Warning!! Warning!! Trouble ahead.
The first of these is conceit. Our reputation easily goes to our head. That leads to a feeling of pride and entitlement. Entitlement is a strong motivator for temptation. I deserve it. I earned it. I’ve worked hard. You become the most important thing to you. It’s all about you. In our story we see that even though God is blessing David in abundance, he builds his own house before he builds one for God.
Comfort or complacency takes place when we’ve become confident in our own abilities. We pat ourselves on the back. In the tooting of our own horns, the needs of others are lost. We take other’s for granted and push our desires to the top. As our entitlement grows, our ability to see other’s needs around us diminishes. If we ignore these first two warnings, right around the corner is a compromise.
That opportunity. That one moment when your inhibitions are down and you make that choice, that compromise and it is a slippery slope from there. It snowballs and that one compromise becomes an avalanche of sin before you even know how you got there lying at the base of the mountain 20 feet under. We meet our handsome coworker for coffee because it’s just coffee. We allow that attractive secretary to confide her marital problems to us and comfort her. We lie to ‘protect’ our friends feelings. We have just one more drink before we go. That tv show is borderline pornographic but the writing is so good. We know people have fallen for less but that can’t happen to us. These little teetering on the edge of sin compromises that make us a little uncomfortable and have us defending ourselves with vigor, before you know it, have us knee deep in trouble and we can’t remember how we got there
The other great lesson in this week’s scripture is when there is repentance there is forgiveness and redemption.
“I have sinned against the Lord.” Then Nathan says, astonishingly, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 2Samuel 11:27
God always gives us a way to start over. We may have to live with some of the consequences of our sins but our heart is clean with God. For many of us, there will be times in our life when we lose sight of the path God has chosen for us and worry more about the path we’d like to be on. With human nature, that is bound to happen. The important thing is what we do about it. Do we find some accountability, confess it and step back in to God’s plan or do we push it farther and farther from our mind and slowly distance ourselves from the one who calls us close.
How’s your ego lately? How are you treating others? Have you made a compromise you need to acknowledge so it doesn’t happen again?