Chapter Twelve: The Trials of a King
What to Do With Your “Third Week of March”
When Pope John Paul died, a man named Rogers Cadenhead quickly registered the web address www.BenedictXVI.com, thinking this might be the name chosen by the new pope. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope, he DID choose the name Pope Benedict XVI, causing some to question what the Vatican would do to get the rights to the domain name.
Cadenhead didn’t ask the Vatican for money. Instead, in a humorous manner on his blog he suggested a few things he would trade for:
1. Three days, two nights at the Vatican hotel.
2. One of those hats (referring to the bishop’s hat).
3. Complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March 1987.
Now like you, I’m curious about what Rogers did the third week of March in 1987 that would cause him to seek absolution — but does it really matter? All of us have at least a week for which we would love to have total forgiveness.
We discover in Chapter 12 of The Story that David had such a week. When the army is away at war, David, who is the commander of the nation’s military, neglects his duties and stays behind at the palace. He sees Bathsheba, seduces her, gets her pregnant, murders her husband, and tries to cover up his actions by deceiving his general and soldiers. It looks as if David will get away with all of this until God sends the prophet, Nathan, to confront him. Nathan confronts David by telling him a story about a poor man with one lamb. David knows something about sheep and shepherds, so he listens. Nathan says that the poor man has a rich neighbor who needs to slaughter a lamb to feed a guest, but instead of taking one from his many sheep he steals the poor man’s only lamb. David is incensed and says that the man who has done this evil should be put to death. Nathan then declares to David, “You are the man!”
At that moment David must have wished he had bought a domain name that he could swap for forgiveness. I’m sure he wanted to make excuses, explain things away, blame it on Bathsheba for taking a bath in broad daylight where he could see. But instead of making excuses, David confesses. “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). And God did with David’s sin what He will do with yours and mine. David would later write in Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
God offers us the same forgiveness that David found. Whatever your “third week of March” might be, sit down with it, yourself and God. Confess your sin. And then let another shepherd from Bethlehem FORGIVE YOU.
That’s better than any domain name you might secure.
Now GO, and sin no more.
Living in Grace,