“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’” 2 Samuel 12:13-14 NKJ
Often we think that sin only disrupts our relationship with the Lord and the people involved. We don’t usually think about the effect our sin has on “the enemies of the Lord.”
This thought is repeated elsewhere in the Bible. Paul addressed the Jews and said, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24, see also Ezekiel 36:22).
Our actions are more far-reaching than we realise. When we sin we give God’s enemies, whether these enemies are spiritual foes or physical people, the opportunity to despise God. Christians live in a “goldfish bowl” where people are watching to see if our faith makes any difference to our actions. People who have no respect for God will feel vindicated when they see one of God’s people fall into obvious sin. Others will question the value of being committed to God when they feel that they live a better moral life than those that call themselves Christians.
Despite his failings, David didn’t sit around bemoaning his lack of self-control or complain about the death of an innocent child. He admitted his sin, repented and received God’s forgiveness. After he realised the child was dead (verse 20), he accepted God’s decision and moved on with his life.