Living In Denial

Living In Denial
Robert Wurtz II

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. (Psalms 32:1-4) 

It is interesting to read Psalm 32 and Psalm 51, because both Psalms contain confessions of a great series of sins that David once tried to cover up. In fact, his first attempt was so awful, that it vexes the mind that a human being could be capable of such things. Knowing the wife of Uriah the Hitite was carrying his baby, he ordered Uriah down to his home to lie with his wife. David’s intention was that Bathsheba lead her husband to believe the baby was his. One of the primary reasons for “thou shalt not commit adultery” was made a commandment was to prevent husbands from having to deal with the hellishness of spurious offspring. David figuerd, what Uriah didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. However, Uriah refused to obey. Even after Davil got him drunk he would not do it. Uriah was a man of great integrity; so David ordered his death.  

The Rev. D.L. Burch often said that some people are apt to read the story of David and Bathseeba and get so angry that they backslide. This is just a way of saying that the sin was bad enough to stumble the people on the receiving end of it. There are few things more vexing than trying to live a lie. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; so that is not the issue. The question surrounds covering our sin. It is an ancient practice. Millions upon millions have done it. 

When we come to Christ we are told to acknowledge our sins (1 John 1:9),
but what happens when we continue to live in denial of some serious sin that happened in our past? In a word, “fear.” Fear of discovery that turns into a general fear of almost everything and everyone. Fear leads to anger and hate. This is important to consider. Living a lie has the power to turn us on everyone and everything, including God. Why? People begin to hate the one they fear will discover their secret. Criminals often live in fear that the police will finally find that missing piece of evidence that links them to their crime. So they hate police. This is an oversimplification, but there is truth here. People grow to hate the one they live in fear of discovering and confronting them. Soon, fullblown paranoia sets in. Solomon said that the wicked flee when no one is chasing them. Why? Their conscience won’t let them rest. 

What will people think of me?

“The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. This is what Psalm 32:1-4 is all about. He could not cover it forever. His life became a perpetual misery. He was vexed out day and night. He went so far as to try and get the husband Uriah to have relations with her to blame the sin on the husband. When that did not work he devised a plan to have the man killed. Why would he do it? Because he didn’t want anyone to discover what he had done. He had written many psalms (songs) and was in reputation for being a man of God. Pride rose up and told him he had to save face. He was dying within. The old fellowship with God was not what it was. Him and God had fallen out over this sin and rather than confess he did as the old writer wrote, “he told it like it used to be.” He referred to, and lived in, his past experience in God. Why? He had no fellowship. He also knew that he could not live this lie forever. A lying tongue is but for a moment. He knew that he would have to come clean.

Lies come of age

Lies are born and grow up to be monsters that we cannot control. When a lie is conceived it brings forth as surely as a woman with child. The world would say, “It comes home to roost.” It can take 1, 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years to develop. The longer it is allowed to grow, the harder it will be to deal with in the end. So it is best to deal with the thing by prevention. Don‘t commit a sin that you will have to later try and cover up. Fear of disappointing family and friends will drive you to do unconscionable things if you allow it. Denial is a first human and carnal response. David obviously did not want to disappoint the people, so he covered his sin as long as he possibly could. He was the great king and didn’t want people to think bad of him. It was pride. He tried to shift the blame here and there, all the while Bathsheba was the evidence that he had sinned. He could not deny it in the end; he could only postpone the inevitable.

Tired of running and hiding

It is sad that a good man had to die because of David’s sin. Indeed he was probably better off dead, than to live with knowing that his wife had become pregnant by another man. Understand that Uriah was a casualty of David’s sin. Sin always has consequences. In time the prophet Nathan appeared at his door and confronted him. “Thou art the man…” are the resounding words that echo down through the ages. This is God’s estimate of all of us. “Thou art the man… thou art the woman.” It was time to stop running. 

If we acknowledge… 

Over 20 years ago I was subpoenaed to testify in a federal civil lawsuit related to a former employer. As evidence in the case began to mount, so did the resistance. In time I asked why the parties would not just come clean and admit what they had done. One of the lawyers aids simply looked at me and said, “Robert, it is an age old problem known as denial.” 

I must say that denial is the enemy of forgiveness and restoration. The first step is to humble ourselves and acknowledge the sin. It can seem like the hardest thing we have ever done, but if we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ) David discovered this when he looked at Nathan and stated, “I have sinned against the Lord.” God’s response? And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13b) No waiting. No delay. As soon as he acknowledged what he had done, the lie was over with. What a powerful truth. He had to live with many consequences, but he could go forward now on the right path. If he had continued in denial the lie would have become a monster that totally destroyed him. The same is true of us. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can acknowledge our sins and move forward in God. 



A Sign From God

A Sign From God
Robert Wurtz II

“A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.” (Matthew 16:4)

Driving down Highway 291 I was met with this sign,”You asked for a sign from God, this is it.” As I passed on heading home I could not get that thought out of my mind. Could it really be that simple? Someone asks God for a sign and then they happen upon this message board. After given it much thought I suggest that actually it is more simple than that. Jesus said that, a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. Amazingly this statement is not a commendation. Jesus does not praise these men and women for seeking signs from God, He tells them the type of category they fall into (wicked and adulterous). Our Greek word for wicked is poneros and means hurtful. This is a person or a spirit that causes suffering by their actions. They are part of the problem, not the solution. They are laden with destructiveness. Our second word is adulterous and it is the Greek moichalis. This is a covenant breaker. This is a person that when faced with keeping their commitments or pleasing themselves they choose to please themselves. Together these two facts characterize the people that seek a sign. Notice that Jesus had already given many different signs and none of them were good enough. The evil and adulterous pretend that the Lord has not given them a sufficient sign in order that they can continue on living in sin. They are willfully skeptical. 

A greater sign?

As a young Christian I was quite naive. I believed that if God would reveal Himself sufficiently to a person then they would surely believe. In other words, I believed that the reason why most people did not believe is because they never witnessed a miracle or experienced God in some kind of irrefutable way. This belief was dashed to pieces when I saw people healed of things like terminal cancer, they survived deadly accidents, etc., and still they did not turn to God. It was so devastating to me to see this, that I was disillusioned with my own theology. But I learned an important lesson. God deals with people and they know He is dealing with them. But in order to stall, they seek a ‘greater sign’. Many have gone to their graves procrastinating and stalling.  

Resurrection not enough

You will recall how the rich man lifted up his eyes in Hell seeking for water and a warning to be sent to his family. He received neither. But a close look at Abraham’s explanation reveals an essential truth to us. We take up the story, Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:29-31) This seems almost impossible doesn’t it? If someone comes back from the dead they still won’t believe? That’s right. We have an example of this when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. We take up that story also, Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. (John 12:9-11) This passage has to rank as one of the most potent revelations of the sick nature of sinful man. Here is a person dead so long that he stank, but was raised from the dead and now these chief priests, that don’t even believe in resurrection, are seeking to put him to death again. Rather than stop their obstinate refusal to believe and obey God, they seek to destroy the evidence. There is no possible way these people did not know God was back of that unprecedented miracle. They have what the book of Hebrews calls, “an evil heart of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:12)

The danger of denial

About 20 years ago I was visited by an investigator about a certain crime that had been committed. Because I knew the parties involved at an earlier period of my life I was asked to give a deposition. In the course of my association with this case I saw clearly that the handwriting was on the wall. the evidence was almost overwhelming. At one point I asked the investigator why the party did not just confess. I never for got his answer, “Robert, it is an age old problem known as denial.” 

Multitudes are living in denial of God’s dealings with them. But what we must know is that God is not going to frog-march us to an altar of repentance and faith. Denial is a defense mechanism, but when God is the opposing party is it an awfully flimsy one! God knows the hearts of men so there is no sense in pretending we don’t understand or don’t believe. The rich man tried to get more ‘proof’ to his family, but Abraham told him plainly that they had Moses and the prophets and that that was sufficient for repentance and faith. To think that someone will repent if God shows them another ‘sign’ is to fool yourself. Think of all the times in life when you knew God was at work or He moved your heart. What about friends and family? Some of the greatest signs I ever saw from God were trod under foot by the rebellious. We have all the revelation we need right here and right now. As Jesus said it, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.” (Matthew 16:4) God has raised Christ from the dead after 3 days in the heart of the earth. There can be no greater sign given than that. If that sign is not enough, then a message board on Highway 291 reading,”You asked for a sign from God, this is it” is as good as any.      

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