God forgives us because He's a loving and gracious God. But His forgiveness doesn't free us from the pain and consequences that come from our bad decisions.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” (NIV)
The Bible says in Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (NIV). You will be found out! So when making decisions, you have to have the integrity test.
The test of integrity is that your public life and your private life match — what’s in your heart and what’s in your life are the same thing. You ask yourself the question, “Would I want everyone to know about this decision that I’m making?” The truth is, when it comes to integrity, even if you can fool everyone else, you can’t fool yourself. And if you violate your own conscience, you have to pay for that.
Sometimes we know we’re about to do the wrong thing. We know we shouldn’t do it, but this thought comes to our mind: “I know I’m doing the wrong thing, but I’m going to go ahead and do it because I know God is a forgiving God.”
What kind of fool do you think God is? Do you think you can do something that he says is wrong and you won’t have consequences in your life? That’s the very reason he doesn’t want you to make that decision — because he loves you and not because he wants to keep you from having fun. He knows there are consequences to every decision. He knows every bad decision leaves scars in your life. And he wants better for you.
Does this mean that God does not forgive us for the wrong things we do? Of course he forgives us. He’s a forgiving and gracious God. But that forgiveness does not free us from the pain and the consequences that come from bad decisions. You can be forgiven and still have regrets. You can be forgiven and still face pain. You can be forgiven and still have a broken relationship. You can be forgiven and still lose rewards.
Romans 14:14 says, “If someone believes it is wrong, then he shouldn’t do it because for him it is wrong” (TLB). This verse simply says that when in doubt, don’t. It’s a violation of the integrity test. Whatever is not from faith in our lives is sin.
Talk It Over
- What do you think God wants to happen in your heart when you ask for forgiveness?
- How does knowing the right thing to do and not doing it affect your integrity?
- Why is the comparison game so dangerous when it comes to integrity? How does Romans 14:14 apply?
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