Saturday, April 13, 2013

Guilty? or Loved?

When your past sins come to mind, how do you feel?  I for one tend to use past sins as bludgeon to my soul.  Sure, God has grace and mercy on us, he forgives us, I may think.  But he doesn’t really like me.  He just kind of tolerates me.

Have you ever had similar thoughts?

Over time, these kinds of lies can make us feel closed off from the Lord.  We see his Light as though through a window, and those windows become smaller and’s not much fun trying to be in a relationship with someone who merely tolerates us.  Sometimes bitterness and resentment creep in as well. 

Enough of God’s love may creep in to make us want to keep trying.  Maybe someday I won’t be such a screw-up.  Maybe if I’m a better person, God will like me more…

Is this why God shows us our sin—so we can beat ourselves up and pound any possibility of joy out of our faith?

No.  He shows us because he has gone to great lengths to rescue us. He is constantly seeking a relationship with us. He shows us only to shower us with mercy, that we can come into his presence and truly know him.

God urges us to restore others gently if they are caught in sin (Galatians 6:1-2). To carry each other’s burdens. Sometimes we are not very gentle in how we approach each other, and may lack the Father’s tenderness and love. But he urges us to do this—because this is what he does for us. That the God of the universe, holy, glorious, mighty, powerful creator—would look to our lives and make any comment at all is astounding. That he does in the context of being our creator, of informing us how we may safely come into his presence, of foolishly and painfully demeaning himself in order to save us—shows the depth of his love and care for us.  He doesn’t merely tolerate.  He seeks us.  He longs for us.

The next time your previous sin is brought to mind—don’t reflect on your own inadequacy or wallow in your guilt.  Remember that as a time when Jesus lovingly met you at the foot of the cross and reminded you that he gave all of himself for you. Think of it as a sweet moment when he lured your heart back to his, when he extended his hand to walk with you or his arms to carry you, and you recommitted to walking with him. Let your heart be filled with thankfulness at the warmth of his love, with joy that he rejoices over you.

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