Convinced of Sin
TEXT: Psalm 38:1-18; Acts 24:24-27
God was helping Macy see the condition of her heart.
Macy tossed restlessly on her bed, pulling the covers up under her chin and shoving her pillow into a different position. Sleep seemed a million miles away. I’m not going to think any more about it, she told herself determinedly. I am going to go to sleep and forget the whole thing.
But sleep still wouldn’t come.
Against her will, the whole scene replayed itself in her memory. She’d gone to church with Paige, her friend who lived next door. It wasn’t the first time she’d been to church but this time when the preacher gave his sermon, it really got through to her. At the end it seemed his eyes had fastened right on her. And his question, though spoken softly, seemed to be shouted directly at her: “Are you going to see Heaven?”
She had tried to brave it out. As a matter of fact, she had probably fooled Paige entirely with her casual dismissal of the whole meeting as they left the church afterwards. When Paige had asked her if she enjoyed it, she had just said, “Oh, it was okay. The singing was really nice.” She had let it go at that. But deep down in her heart she had not been able to toss it off that easily.
Tonight, when she crawled into bed, the thoughts she had been suppressing all afternoon crowded into her mind. “Are you going to see Heaven?” the preacher’s words echoed through her thoughts. I am not all that bad, she thought, I haven’t killed anyone or stolen anything. I try to be good. But, am I going to see Heaven? Deep inside she knew she wasn’t right with God, and that meant she wasn’t going to see Heaven.
All afternoon, she’d felt miserable, not a bit like laughing or having fun. She was so mixed up. What was wrong with her anyway? Why should just a few words from that preacher this morning make her feel so upset?
It was a long night, and when morning finally came, Macy felt as if her eyes had hardly been shut. She sat up in bed and sighed. That heavy, disturbed feeling was still with her. What could she do? She had to talk to someone about it.
Macy hardly knew where she found the courage, but desperation gave her boldness. Late that afternoon, she found herself sitting in the study of Paige’s pastor. Once she started to explain her feelings, it was just like a dam broke, and all the anguish and troubled feelings she had been having rushed to the surface.
“When you asked if we would see Heaven, I just felt sick,” Macy told him. “And I couldn’t sleep all night. I don’t understand what is happening to me, but I had to talk to someone.”
“Macy, what you are feeling is called conviction. Conviction means being convinced of one’s sins. God’s Spirit is letting you know that you have sins in your life, and no sin will be in Heaven. It may not feel good to hear that, but conviction is actually a good thing because it can lead you to repentance—feeling sorry for what you have done wrong, asking for God’s forgiveness, and turning your back on those wrong things. That is the only way to get sin out of your life and be ready for Heaven.
“Do you mean this bad feeling is because I have done something wrong and I need to ask God for forgiveness?”
“Yes,” the preacher nodded. “God doesn’t want you to be lost forever. Sometimes the only way He can make people realize that what they are doing is wrong is to allow them to feel bad. This is your opportunity, Macy. Don’t let it slide by. God is calling you right now.”
Macy sat in silence for a long moment. Then she said quietly, “I believe God is calling me. Will you pray with me?”