2 Samuel 12:7-15 , “Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anoint you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to by your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before you eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ So 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.’ Then Nathan departed to his house.”
There are often lasting consequences, in this life, for sin. David was forgiven. However, his life never again would be the same. Sin should not be taken lightly.
Consider, the following story which is contained in the book, The Moral Compass (edited by William J. Bennett).
Nails in the Post by M.F. Cowdery
There was once a farmer who had a son named John, a boy very apt to be thoughtless, and careless about doing what he was told to do.
One day his father said to him, “John, you are so careless and forgetful, that every time you do wrong, I shall drive a nail into this post, to remind you how often you are naughty. And every time you do right I will draw one out” His father did as he said he would, and every day he had one and sometimes a great many nails to drive in, but very seldom one to draw out.
At last John saw that the post was quite covered with nails, and he began to be ashamed of having so many faults. He resolved to be a better boy, and the next day he was so good and industrious that several nails came out. The day after it was the same thing, and so on for a long time, till at length only one nail remained. His father then called him, and said: “Look, John, here is the very last nail, and now I’m going to draw it out. Are you not glad?”
John looked at the post, and then, instead of expressing his joy, as his father expected, he burst into tears. “Why,” said the father, “what is the matter? I should think you would be delighted; the nails are all gone.”
“Yes,” sobbed John, “the nails are gone, but the scars are there yet”
So dear children, with your faults and bad habits; you may overcome them, you may by degrees cure them, but the scars remain. Now, take my advice, and whenever you find yourselves doing a wrong thing, or getting into a bad habit, stop at once. For every time you give in to it, you drive another nail, and that will leave a scar on your soul, even if the nail should be afterwards drawn out.