Contrary to our natural belief system, the consequence of law is far easier to swallow than the free gift of grace. The law readily tells you what you deserve so that when you transgress it, you know to expect death. For the believer, who is in Christ- we never have to fear death or separation on that vertical level- we will always be beloved children. The consequence now for transgressing the law only affect us directly on the horizontal level.
When you transgress against those you love, death awaits you- relationally. This is why we go into hiding. We stuff it down so that we don’t have to experience the weight of what we deserve and that always leads us into deeper, darker transgressions. Lies and betrayal build to the point where you no longer know what the truth actually is and you completely lose touch with who you are- all because you fear the consequence of law. That guilt begins to eat away at your very being as the fear of truth springing to light causes waves of anxiety to constantly sweep over you. You begin to shove down the truth and psychologically treat it as if it were just a bad dream, explaining it away to yourself so that you can move on- without confession. You repeat this until, like David, your body begins to break down:
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long, for your hand was heavy upon me- my strength was dried up as the heat of summer…” Psalm 32
You know in your mind that the gospel says that it’s safe to come out from under the bush, as you clutch those fig leaves in desperation- hoping that they will somehow keep you there. Though, you battle that truth internally, arguing with the tear-soaked dirt, “when they see who I am, they will all walk away…”
As the Spirit moves, the levy on your conscience finally gives way to confession. The truth comes roaring from your heart and as it passes through your lips, the Spirit grabs hold of you. He reminds you of how you are loved and how this, while difficult, is far better than hiding, no matter how anyone responds to this confession, you are covered. The burden begins to lift. You are free.
You are free.
You bask in that freedom for a moment until you realize that your burden has now been transferred to your loved ones as they sit before you- holding your confession in their hands. They stare at it in disbelief, trying to make sense of it all. You stand at your sentencing, ready to accept the full weight of the consequences as you stare the death of these relationships square in the face. “Just let it come, give me what I deserve so that I don’t have to watch their agony.”
Death comes swiftly.
Far more devastating than you could have possibly imagined, your loved ones, the innocent parties, take that ugly, violent truth of betrayal that you’ve laid in their hands, and they swallow it whole. To your sheer horror, they step into your place and they die voluntarily for the sins that you have committed against them.
You panic, “No! Give me what I deserve!” Taking on the consequences that you’ve earned is easier in some regard because it appeals to human reasoning, while sitting and watching others forgive you is almost too much to bear- it doesn’t compute. There is no way that you can justify yourself in this scenario. You can’t fix it or make it right, you just have to sit and receive the real love that is willing to die just to keep you.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32