When God redeems the scandal.

Through every word we speak and every action we take, we write a story for our lives. Sometimes people write two different stories for their lives—one in public and one in private. When the story a person lives in public does not match up with the one he or she lives in private, it is called a scandal. Most people find themselves involved in some sort of scandal at some point in their lives. The good news is that our God is a redeemer of scandals.
 
King David is a great example. In public, David lived the story of an attentive king who was faithful to his God. In 2 Samuel 11, though, we learn that the story of his private life was something different. While his army was off at war, he was lying low at home, enjoying the comfort of his easy royal life. An examination of his private life also reveals that he lacked self-control as he descended into lust, then adultery, and finally murder.
 
God had every reason to destroy David for his scandalous behavior. Instead, God sent a prophet to David, who opened his eyes to the inconsistency of his life. That confrontation led to David’s repentance. His confession and repentance resulted in his being cleansed and made white as snow (see Psalm 51). David suffered the temporal consequences of his sin, but was saved from the eternal wrath of God, and went on to be one of the great kings of God’s people.
 
Peter also lived a scandal. Publicly, he proclaimed to be the most faithful of all the disciples vowing to follow him even unto death. When no one was looking, however, Peter denied knowing Jesus not once, not twice, but three times. When the rooster crowed, and he saw the truth in Jesus’ prediction of his denial, Peter was devastated.
 
Peter never dreamed that anything good could come out of his scandal. He judged himself a failure at being a disciple and went back to his old occupation of fishing. In an ultimate display of grace and mercy, Jesus did not wait for Peter to come to him and ask for forgiveness. Jesus went to where he was, performed a miracle, and then walked him through repentance (see John 21). Jesus took the initiative to redeem Peter’s scandalous actions.
 
Perhaps the most exceptional example of God redeeming scandal is the story of Saul of Tarsus. Publicly, Saul proclaimed to be a devoted worshipper of Yahweh. He claimed to be a student of the law and the prophets. The hateful life he lived, though, told a different story. When the fulfillment of the law came in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth, Saul failed to recognize Him. Saul persecuted the Savior by arresting, abusing, and killing His disciples.
 
One would expect God to completely and utterly destroy such a man as Saul. Astonishingly, though, what we find in the written record in Acts 9 is something completely different. Jesus, instead, came to Saul, confronted his ungodly behavior, and extended to him a hand of grace. His redemption resulted in a name change and a call to be an apostle. Saul, the persecutor of the church, became Paul the apostle– the greatest protagonist in bringing the gospel message to the gentiles.
 
These stories serve as an encouragement for us. We should not be surprised when our scandals are exposed, nor should we be dismayed. Scandals are what we do, but redemption is what God does. When confronted with the inconsistencies of the stories we live, whether it comes from a friend, a preacher, or quiet time with the word, we should see it as a grace. Confrontation is how many of the most beautiful stories begin.
 

If you are currently living two different life stories, one in public and another in private, you are living a scandal. Now is the time to come clean. Don’t listen to your inner defense lawyer. Don’t seek to justify yourself. Instead, confess your sin. Step into the light. Experience his grace. Give the Lord an opportunity to make yours a story of redemption rather than a scandal.