On Sunday mornings we've been working our way through the book of Acts. In Chapter two we've seen both the coming of Pentecost, and Peters great sermon. We've also seen people whose hearts (consciences) were pricked. Some had mocked, while others cried out for help --- why the difference?
When our heart (or conscience) is pricked, we tend to respond in one of three ways:
We can run, hide and cover up --- like Adam and Eve did in the garden after they sinned. We attempt to run away and hide from God and others so we won't have to face them. That just doesn't work. Those who care fir us, especially God, eventually come looking for us. And when they do, we then sew fig leave together to cover up our sin This usually takes the form of deflective deception: rationalizing and self-justifying, And when that doesn't work we continue our downward spiral and move on to blame-shifting (blaming others). And when that won't allow us to wiggle our way out --- we resort to overt deception: lying. Proverbs includes these types in it's description of "fools" --- they will not listen, they will not learn, they will not change, and they will not repent. The only way to dig ourselves out of the hole --- is by confessing, repenting and making restitution if necessary. This can painful and require humility, and is why most folks won't do it, But, it's the only way genuine restoration can take place.
A second reaction people may have when their hearts are pricked, is to get angry and lash out at others. Proverbs warns us of these types and calls them "Scorners" or "Mockers." Their abuse can be verbal or emotional --- or even physical --- like Can lashed out at Abel, Confession and genuine godly-sorrow (changed behavior) is also the only way to restoration with God and others.
The last reaction people may have, like here in Acts, is a cry out for help. These hearts have been prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive correction, and are prepared to repent and implement positive, biblical life-change. It's a heart that's been touched by the Sovereign Grace of God, and it leads to restoration with God and others.
So, let's be honest --- how do we respond when our hearts are pricked? When God uses someone or some circumstance to reveal our foolishness, our failings --- or even our sin? Do we try to run, hide and cover up --- rationalizing, self-justifying, blame-shifting and even lying? Do we lash out at others through verbal, emotional or physical abuse? Or, do we cry out to God and others for help with a genuine sense of brokenness and humility?
Although none of us will ever reach sinless perfection in this life, we can avoid so much unnecessary pain when we live a repentant life-style. It's why it's good to keep "short accounts" with God and others.
God is great, life is short, and sin has serious consequences.
Pastor Bob Morgan is the founding pastor of HCCF. His pastor's "heart-cry" is to see God glorified through the liberating power of the Gospel by leading people to freedom in Christ, and positive, biblical life-change.