In the throes of helping the hurting, a handful of things have come to mind throughout the years that help move a person confronted with the reality and gravity of sin toward a place of healing and wholesomeness. Perhaps these will be helpful for you or someone you know:
There needs to be recognition of the impact of sin. This recognition brings about a sense of genuine, profound sorrow and a deep awareness of the hurt inflicted upon others and God. It is a confession—or, an agreement regarding what is true—before God and, if need be, others, of sin, unbiblical associations and the impact these have on others. This is the development of integrity.
There needs to be repentance . . . the turning from unbiblical associations to biblical practices and attitudes. This involves a genuine renunciation of what has been sinful and unhealthy and a declaration of humble commitment to God’s standards as personified in Jesus Christ. This is the development of humility.
There needs to be reflection upon the truths of God and His standards as presented in the Bible. This reflection considers one’s genuine identity in Jesus Christ, the character of God and His tender and just way with mankind, and the need to obediently submit to the ministry of the Holy Spirit for daily living. This is the development of maturity.
There needs to be resignation to the satisfying leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can fulfill a person. Nothing else should compete with Jesus Christ for one’s affection. Total surrender and dependence is a must for healthy living. This is the development of submission.
There needs to be resistance to the influences of Satan, the flesh and the world. This resistance is best pursued through intimate conversation with God by means of prayer and time in God’s Word, accountability with other trusted individuals of the same sex and values, and sensitivity to the realities of personal vulnerability and temptation. This is the development of discernment.
Now, sometimes it is not at all possible, but, if it were possible, then there needs to be restoration with those directly impacted by unbiblical behavior. This is the coming together in the name of Jesus Christ of the one who has sinned and those who have been hurt by the sinner. This restoration reflects relationships that are healing. This is the development of service.
Remember the words of that ancient songwriter, David: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:2-5).