Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Guilt and Grace

The last time we went to the beach, J-Man found a new favorite activity.  He would scoop up some wet mucky sand with his shovel.  With determination and a set jaw, he would walk right up to that ocean and throw said sand into the water.  He would do this again and again.  It seemed almost therapeutic for him, like he was releasing something inside, throwing something off of his heart.

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." - Hebrews 12.1

This verse was shared with me today and it resonated in my heart.  Here's what I'm thinking: sin hinders us, but so does guilt.  We have to throw off both. 

We still make mistakes even after having been redeemed, but "we confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us," and so we get back up and confess and then we throw off that sin.  We repent, we decide to do things better from now on, we do what needs to be done to make that the case.

And yet sometimes this lingering guilt continues to hinder us.  "I'm supposed to be a Christian...why do I still sin?"  "How could I have failed like that?"  "How could I have done that?"  "Does God really forgive me...again?" 

We can live in that guilt and shame, we can hunker down there, but that is not from God.  Maybe the initial guilt is God's way of convicting us, but then I think the enemy grabs hold of that and tries to push it deeper and deeper.  We have to throw that off. 

Get your shovel, dig in to the sin or guilt or whatever mucky sand hinders you,

set your jaw,

and chuck it into the ocean.  Send it away.

And then persevere.  We don't question if we're really cut out for this gig.  We don't back down.  We don't throw in the towel.  We don't shrink back.  We persevere.  Keep going.  Run harder, faster, longer.  Whatever the race is set out for us, whatever we've been called to do, we keep at it.

Have you been struggling with any lingering guilt or shame?  I encourage you today to confess if you haven't already.  And then to accept that grace.  Believe it.  Throw off the guilt.  Persevere.

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