This post is written by Leslie Hudson and is published as a companion to Unit 11, Session 4 of The Gospel Project for Adults Vol. 4 (Summer 2022): From Unity to Division.
If only we could close our eyes and pretend some things won’t happen. It’s what I do when watching a movie and the action gets too intense: I simply close my eyes until the loud, minor music stops. It works for movies, but not for life.
I’ve been teaching Sunday school for almost twenty years, and I love it. I love the study, the preparation, and the Spirit-led discussion that happens as a result of delving into God’s Word. But David and Bathsheba’s story is the lesson I never want to teach, don’t get excited about, and catch myself holding my breath until it’s over.
The Hurt of Adultery
Why? Because I have seen what adultery does to men and women, little children, adult children, and families, not just short-term but for decades. I despise drudging up those memories for some and making some learners feel like I’m shining a spotlight into their souls. My heart breaks for the repentant adulterer, the scorned victim, the innocent bystander, and the family members whose heartbreak is much deeper than anyone can see.
Even today, I remember the first time my own heart was broken over adultery. At age 16, I found out that a family I loved was being torn apart because of it. It wasn’t my family, yet it cut me deeply. I questioned a person I felt I knew, wondering how falsehood could become so deeply embedded in the life of one who claimed to follow Christ. I still hurt for that family, almost forty years later, wondering what they would look like today if adultery hadn’t torn them apart.
If only we could close our eyes to adultery. And to this story. But I won’t. Because every class needs to be reminded of the pain it causes. Every class needs to have their teachers look them in the eye and say, “You are never too successful, too old, or too popular to opt out of temptation.” Every class needs to see how one sin becomes a dozen as cover-ups and lies take over the false image of trying to pretend you didn’t sin.
The Mercy of a Forgiving God
And every class needs to hear the heartbreak in the repentant adulterer when he or she finally confesses and the undeniable mercy and forgiveness of the God against which he or she sinned. This story is a warning that temptation is real; it happens only four chapters after David offers to build God a house but receives the eternal family throne in return. And the crazy thing about joining these two stories together? David’s sin didn’t undo God’s promise. God’s promises are forever, and nothing we can do can unbind them.
His love is just as strong. He never stopped loving David even though the mighty warrior and man after God’s own heart became an adulterer, liar, and murderer. This is a story about adultery, but more so, it’s about a God who never lets go.
So, let’s all open our eyes. Let’s see sin and the trail of pain and tears it leaves behind. Let’s see the penitent prayers. Let’s see how God sees our sin, sees our secrets, convicts us of them, and yet still calls us His child when we repent and confess our sin.
Leslie Hudson loves her mornings of silence, coffee, and Jesus; not in that order. She lives with her husband and kids in White Bluff, Tennessee, where they raise blueberries, figs, and bees. She loves to spend her free time reading, writing, journaling, and helping others know and follow Jesus.