One of the most difficult hurdles in recovering one’s lost soul is dealing with the consequences of sin. The Bible is replete with examples of sins devastating carnage. Moses would gaze longingly on a land he had spent most of his life to reach only to be halted at the stoop of its front door (Deuteronomy 34:4). King David’s house would never be the same after the Bathsheba affair, plagued with betrayal, murder and disappointment (1 Samuel 12:10). And, Israel’s joy in rebuilding the Temple after the Babylonian conquest was bittersweet at best (Ezra 3:13). Consequences are tough.

Forgiveness is the salve that dulls the sting of sin but the Balm of Gilead does not end there. The struggle of finding a right, healthy and fulfilling way to deal with consequences is found in the fellowship of a people forgiven by God, sympathetic to the struggles of recovery and dedicated to rebuilding broken lives. All of the “I’m sorry” and “My bad” expressions in the world will not blot out the fallout of failure, but a good Christian family can certainly help carry the load. Paul encouraged the Galatian churches, saying: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

You will note that in the previously mentioned examples of Moses, David and Israel, all were forgiven their sins; yet, still, the consequences that constituted the burden of everyday living lingered. We are doubly blessed, as God’s children, to be forgiven but, also, to find strength in like-minded disciples of Christ, each of us struggling with our own less-than-flattering history, willing and anxious to help a spiritual sibling navigate the rocky straits back to the placid Water of Life. What a blessing to surround oneself with the saints and be strengthened and supported in that life-long road to recovery.