As many of us were growing up, Mom was really there for a lot more of our disobediences than Dad was. She was at home when we did our thing while he was conveniently at work. Actually, that seemed to be in our favor in many cases – you know, Mom tended to be a little easier to deal with than Dad on those discipline things. Moms often mingle punishment with sympathy, dads often mingle punishment with pain. And there was always that brief relief when Mom would say, “I’m not going to do anything to you.” Yea! Judgment is cancelled! Then came that fatal next sentence, “I’ll wait ’til your father gets home.” So judgment wasn’t cancelled. It was just postponed.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “You Can Postpone It, But You Can’t Cancel It.”
Some people make a dangerous mistake with God because nothing happens when they disobey Him, and they think there’s not going to be any consequences. Wrong. Judgment postponed is not judgment cancelled.
Consider our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Timothy 5:24 – two kinds of sins. It says, “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.” Some people get the bill for their sin right away, and some get it later on, but everyone gets the bill. The danger is that the person who doesn’t pay right away thinks he’s gotten away with it, so he or she keeps on sinning and piling up more consequences and more judgment.
Actually, it’s probably better to get the consequences of your sin immediately, so you wake up and quit accumulating punishment. So often this matter of postponing the payment for your sin is really a matter of how much money or position you have. For example, if you live in a poor urban neighborhood or an Indian reservation, you can’t afford what it takes to cover up what you did or to get off the hook. If you live in a more affluent area, well you might be able to cover your sin and think you’ve gotten away with it. Wrong again! In fact, your punishment may be worse because you just keep doing it.
Your position can also help you postpone paying for your sin. Powerless people have to face the consequences of their sin right away; powerful people can use their power to buy some time. Even Christian leaders have done that to cover their sin. They have enough influence that nobody asks any questions for a while. Now, maybe you’re living in a deadly spiritual Fantasyland right now, thinking, “Well, no one knows. I haven’t been caught. Nothing bad has happened. I might just be getting away with this.” There’s no such thing.
God slams every exit when He says in Numbers 32:23, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” No one has ever ultimately gotten away with their sin, and neither will you. The sooner you face your actions, the less the bill will be. So don’t be fooled. Just as in farming, there may be a lag time between what you sow and what you reap, but the crop will come up!
So, take it from those of us who waited ’til our father got home to deal with our disobedience. You can postpone your judgment, but there is no way you can cancel it.