Pastor’s Pen: A pike full of regrets

Last week I made a giant mistake, I tried to lift a huge pike into the canoe. It had put up a nice fight and I was a little over anxious to get it into the boat. We didn’t have a net so I thought I could just lift it over the side. After all, we were pretty close to the water. As I began to lift, the pike took a sharp shake and snapped off the end of the lure, dropping himself safely back into the water with a sore lip and some extra jewelry to display for his friends.

I was so aggravated with myself. I ran that scenario over and over in my mind. Why didn’t I let him run more so he would tire out? Why didn’t I just hit him in the head first? Perhaps I could have rowed to shore or used the fish bucket to scoop him out. Or maybe I should have taken a little longer at the beginning of the trip to find a net. But it didn’t matter now. The damage was done and I had to live with my poor choices, hopefully learning from them and moving on.

This is similar to those times when we sin. We can become aggravated with ourselves and focus on our sin. We run it over and over making ourselves feel more and more guilty and more and more hopeless. You may recognize that your sin obstructs your fellowship with God and hurts others around you. But what should you do after you sin?

First of all, don’t keep focusing on your sin. Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Center on the goal rather than lingering on the sin.

Second, confess your sin. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is recognizing what we did is rebellion against God and turning from it.

Third, accept God’s forgiveness. Hebrews 8:12 claims that God will “forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” This was also found in 1 John 1:9. You may not “feel” forgiven, but you are. Instead of sulking, begin to thank and praise God for His forgiveness.

Fourth, follow God. Confession isn’t simply saying you’re sorry, but turning from that sin. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Have you sinned? Focus on Christ, confess your sin, accept forgiveness and follow God.

Also, know that you don’t have to do this alone. Christ gives strength and power through the Holy Spirit and God has provided godly people to help you carry that burden. I’m praying for you and hopefully you will for me as well. We’re all fighting this battle together.