“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” “ Jonah 2:8
The youth in our churches are growing up in a culture where nothing is the fault of the individual. No matter what happens, one can blame another or diminish its importance. This approach to life has become so commonplace that it is what most people do without even recognizing it. This is a dangerous mindset and truly shows the arrogance and insolent nature of mankind. The culture teaches the young among us to not only ignore culpability but cling to and celebrate sin. Deprived of guilt and remorse, the culture holds onto its sin and in clinging to sin it forgoes the grace of God.
God is faithful to forgive but true forgiveness only comes after sin has been properly mourned. That is the unkempt secret that is declared in scripture. Jonah 2:8 states, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” It is the weight of guilt and the grief that causes each to reach out to God and experience the joy of forgiveness. The students in my youth group recently explored Psalms 51. In these verses, King David demonstrates how one is to mourn over sin. After much brooding, he chooses to ignore the tendency to place blame and instead confesses his sins (Psalm 51:1-5). David stands broken before the Lord, calling out to the Lord to remain close. In these verses we see true mourning and through this we see a man who received grace. For he believed and declared, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Christians, let us again be those who gladly declare our guilt and call others to do likewise. Let us draw near to God and be like David. Let us take the blame for our sin, name each one, identify its specific source, and confess it to God. Once we have done this and once we have mourned it then we as individuals and we corporately will feel the comfort of Christ.