Happily forever after

Written by Mark Batterson
Published on August 25, 2020

Today we have the pleasure of featuring Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. and New York Times bestselling author of eighteen books. Mark offers great encouragement to parents in any season of life. What happens when our kids sin? What happens when we sin as parents? What if our sin dramatically changes our lives or our children’s lives (or both)? We are thankful for his reminder that none of us are defined by our sins. Christ’s righteousness is our identity, and in the words of Mark: “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

 

One decision can change your life in dramatic ways. One wrong decision can ruin a reputation you’ve worked a lifetime to build. One wrong decision can end a marriage or end a career. Like David’s decision to pursue another man’s wife, many of us look back on a wrong decision with deep regret. We beat ourselves up over a lapse in judgment. We ponder our missteps and wonder, What if? We wish we could turn back time and undo what we’ve done. But we can’t. We cannot change the past. But we can learn from it. And that’s how we change the future. 

I don’t know what mistakes you’ve made. And I can’t promise that everyone will forgive and forget. But God will. I can’t promise that you will make things right with those you have wronged. After all, they have free will too. But you can make things right with God. And vertical repentance is the key to horizontal reconciliation. The wrong decisions you have made, no matter how devastating they have been to you and to others, don’t have to define you. Not if God’s grace is still in play. God’s grace has a way of turning what seems like final mistakes into single mistakes. And He’ll even redeem those mistakes and turn them into defining moments that help you discover new dimensions of His grace 

David’s affair with Bathsheba is the worst chapter of his life. He makes a terrible decision, plain and simple. And it seems like happily ever after is out the window. It seems like his illicit affair and murderous cover-up will result in a tragic ending. But that isn’t how David’s story ends, is it? And your story doesn’t have to end that way either. In fact, it doesn’t have to have an ending at all. By virtue of the Resurrection, you can live happily forever after.

ln the Old Testament, kings are divided into two categories: those who did what was right in the sight of the Lord and those who did what was wrong. David did something wrong, very wrong. But Scripture doesn’t classify him in the category of those who did what was wrong.

David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

Did you catch the last line? The biblical account doesn’t ignore David’s sin. It references the greatest mistake of David’s life: sleeping with Bathsheba and then killing her husband and his friend, Uriah. But the key word is “except.” That sin was an exception to the rule. And your sin can be too. How? Simply by confessing it. When you confess your sin, it no longer defines you. You are defined by the grace of God. David was counted in the company of kings who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

David wasn’t defined by his sin. And neither are you. Not if you are in Christ. You are no longer defined by what you’ve done wrong. You are defined by what Christ has done right. His righteousness is your identity. His righteousness is your destiny. Here’s a promise to hang on to: it’s never too late to be who you might have been.

Your mistakes may define your past, but they don’t have to define your present. And they certainly don’t have to define your future. If you’re still breathing, it means that God isn’t finished with you yet. He is still chipping and chiseling. He is still remodeling you into His image. He is still setting the captive free and creating the unique masterpiece that is you.

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Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. One church with seven locations. NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in theaters throughout the DC metro area. NCC also owns and operates the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Mark holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 18 books...

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