Unrealized Sin (2 Samuel 21:1)

It was a difficult period in my life. In three years, I lost both of my parents, one to cancer and one to a heart attack. As I struggled to deal with these losses, I often wondered if these tragedies were because of sins that I had committed, either sins of commission or omission. The following passage from the Bible kept coming to my mind. 

There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the LORD about it. And the LORD said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.” 

2 Samuel 21:1 (NLT)

Famine struck Israel because of Saul’s sin that he committed over thirty years earlier. There are many troubling issues that this passage from the Bible raises. Why did David wait for three years before inquiring of the Lord? How many events in my life are because of unrealized or unconfessed sins? These sins were committed nearly a generation earlier, is there a statute of limitations for sin and its consequences?

As I reviewed my life and the events leading up to my parents’ passing, I could convince myself that the sins that I committed in my past may have led to these tragedies. What about the time I disappointed my father when I told him that I did not want to become a dentist and follow in his footsteps? What about the time when I broke my mother’s heart when I chose to live with my father after they were divorced? At the time of these decisions, it was easy to convince myself that I was making the right choice. Perhaps. These are only two things I did. How much more pain did I cause my parents but was unaware because of my ignorance or selfish motives? Yes, these events occurred over thirty years earlier, but like the Israelites, God is not mocked and He could enact His judgment whether it occurred thirty years or three hundred years earlier. 

All sin is rebellion against God but not all sins are equally judged by Him. There are different consequences. This event that occurred thousands of years ago was unique to this period in history. God dealt with this sin with an appropriate judgment, one that may seem confusing to us. What about current events? Only God knows the perfect way to mete out judgment for our previous sins. While God forgives our sins when we confess and repent of them, there are always consequences that must be addressed and there is no statute of limitations. God spoke to me and reassured me with this verse. 

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 

Romans 8:1-3 (NLT)

We do live in a different world than when the Israelites were held accountable for the sins of their first king, Saul. We are in a period of grace under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection. While there are still consequences that may occur, I do not need to wallow in the guilt of my past sins. He freed me from returning to my past transgressions and allowed me to focus on conforming my life to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Praise God for His grace and mercy!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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