Sin will always hurt. One couple found this to be true in a painfully embarrassing way. The two were arrested after they attempted to sell stolen goods at a pawnshop. The only problem with their plan was that the goods happened to be from the house of the pawnshop owner. The owner recognized the items, went home to find that his house had indeed been burglarized, and reported the duo to the police—leading to their arrest.

It seems like it’s easier to sin when the victim is nameless and faceless. But sin will always hurt somebody. As King David realized, it’s always directed toward a name and a face.

After he rationalized and remained silent about his sins, David finally came to a place where he was able to call what he did sin (2 Samuel 11:1-27–2 Samuel 12:1-31; Psalm 32:1-5). Not only that, but in confessing it, the psalmist recognized his offense was against God Himself (Psalm 51:4). David wasn’t denying that what he did harmed others. But the point of his confession was to acknowledge his rebellion against God. This seems to fit David’s response when the prophet Nathan confronted him with his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 12:13). David realized that if God ever took him to court to prosecute his offenses, the Righteous Judge would unquestionably win the case.

Sin will always hurt somebody—primarily God. Fortunately, He’s a merciful Father who generously forgives. The first step in experiencing true forgiveness—and subsequent joy—is to acknowledge that our sins, though they involve and harm others, are primarily against God. Those who conceal their wrongs won’t prosper, but when we confess our sins to God and turn from them, we find true mercy and forgiveness (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 7:1-17