Christians who remain in hiding continue to live the lie. We deny the reality of our sin. In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, guilt is an idol. But when we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus. ~Brennan Manning
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 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. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. ~from Psalm 103
Oh beloved, it is true. The beloved disciple, John, was (and is, and will be) right. If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). Yes, we are no longer slaves. And yes, we sometimes forget our freedom as we look back over our shoulders at the onion and garlic we ate in our bondage.
Even as we have come out of the land of our slavery; even as we have been made new in Christ, our old man wants to jump up out of his grave and look around. And it doesn’t help if we get a little too hungry, or angry, or lonely, or tired, or disoriented, or hurt. All of the friction of the world rubs up against us – and unless
we flee into G_d’s arms – we can find ourselves making some pretty stupid mistakes.
This fool of a writer is still amazed at his own capacity for stumbling. Thankfully, I am not drinking myself to death – or drowning in chemicals and food and a long list of other things anymore. But, even still, i can quickly fall into fear or anger or impatience or shame. My eyes can go in the wrong direction (oh brothers, don’t get too proud. So can yours.); not just to looking at the wrong woman – but also putting my eyes on the waves of life.
The chances for failure
The doubts about the future
The failures of others
The pain and shame of my past
And on and on the list does go.
However, this same disciple, John, says something else in much of his writings. While there is no place for us to walk in or practice living in darkness, neither is there to be any doubt whatsoever about the forgiveness that has been lavished upon us by our King.
As I am both convinced of my need for forgiveness and agree with G_d about my abject depravity apart from Him – a powerful justice takes over. Jesus’ work in His life, death and resurrection cleanses me from ALL unrighteousness. HE makes me (and you) clean, and sets us back on our feet, in a right relationship with Him.
The problem is that, often, we do not feel forgiven – or we choose to dwell in the shame of something we have done that falls short of the glory of G_d. Yes, the sin was horrible. This is why it took the very blood of G_d to pay for it. But the truth is that He paid for it. G_d has already paid for ALL of my (and your) sins.
Can we see it? There is a significant problem. If we are not living as though we are forgiven, we are setting ourselves up for an even greater failure. We are standing up against G_d and telling Him that what He has done to pave the way for our forgiveness is not good enough. And this is even more egregious than any bad behavior our incorruptible flesh may have talked us into.
So, have you messed up lately? It happens. Can we / should we walk in victory? Absolutely. However, beloved this is what grace is about. We have both the power to walk in the light, and His power and forgiveness is what pulls us back out of the shadows when we stray.
Our Father knows that we are messed up. He knows our frailty. He knows it much better than we do. Still, in His justice and mercy and grace and Love, He has forgiven you. Will you not allow this reality to soak into your life? Tonight is your night beloved, time to be humble enough to walk forgiven.
Written by Makala (Mak) Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of God, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, God’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Daily Quote: “The moment you asked for forgiveness, God forgave you. Now do your part and leave the guilt behind.” ~Unknown
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them. ~Psalm 34:6-7