God hates what sin does to you as much as He hates the sin itself.
None of us like to be trapped in sin. We may give in to sin and justify it at times, but we understand that sin is something God hates. Sometimes we get so caught up in hating what God hates – cheating, lying, murder, gossip and so on – that we lose sight of the big picture. We fall into the trap of believing that once the sin is gone, the problem is fixed.
The reality, though, is that years of embracing sin leave a burned-out shell of a person that needs much more than a few minutes in prayer. It takes much longer to rebuild a person than it does to destroy them.
If you’ve rejected a sin that has had a hold on you for many years, don’t expect restoration to come in a few weeks – or even months. There is no quick fix, no pill to take, no operation to undergo. The only solution for years of slavery to sin is years of surrender to Jesus.
Sin changes us in a fundamental way that goes far beyond the actual act itself. It changes the way we think, the way we relate to others and the way we plan for tomorrow. Healing is possible, restoration is possible, but it will take far longer than you wish.
So, when you’re frustrated with the timeline and when you wish things would just get better, remember these two things:
- It is absolutely worth it. It may take some time, but slow healing will always be better than instant gratification. As Ecclesiastes 7: says, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”
- The people around you need time to heal just as much as you do. So when you feel frustrated that people “still look at you judgmentally” or “don’t trust you like they used to,” remember that your sin affected them just like it changed you. Return the gift of forgiveness that you’re being given.
There is more joy in heaven over a converted sinner than over a righteous person standing firm. A leader in battle has more love for a soldier who returns after fleeing, and who valiantly pursues the enemy, than for one who never turned back, but who never acted valiantly either. A farmer has greater love for land which bears fruitfully, after he has cleared it of thorns, than for land which never had thorns but which never yielded a fruitful harvest.
— Gregory the Great