In this season of Lent, we practice confession and receive grace and mercy from our dear Father. Sometimes it is really easy to sit in our sin and let it form a mold over us until it seems like that is actually who we are. I wrote this “letter” (just like this one) to all my dear friends out there who need to get out of that mold and remember who they truly are and what Christ has done for them. Enjoy. (:
One of the sweetest things in life is how God meets us in our brokenness. He reaches down out of Heaven and sits with us in our mess.
You’re in your mess right now. So you made some mistakes. You didn’t make the right choices. Or you made one wrong choice and that led to a lot of other wrong ones.
You’re feeling the shame of it all right now. You’re neck deep in guilt and self-condemnation. No one knows better than you how terrible you are. Right?
Yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve visited that place of shame and regret. That deep gut level self-hatred. The reoccurring pangs of regret and wishing for a re-do.
Half of me wants to sit in it with you. To meet you there and just be with you. And we can.
But the other half wants to tell you this: you are free.
This is the beauty of the Gospel, and the real, hard-to-believe truth of forgiveness and grace.
Mercy and grace are easy to talk about as long as you don’t need them. If you’re preaching them to someone else, it’s like spelling your name. Natural and easy.
But when you find yourself needing grace and mercy – whew, that is when they get hard. Hard to believe, hard to see, hard to accept.
Friend, it feels like you are punishing yourself, as if something you can do will make up for the mistakes you made. “I deserve to be miserable, so I will choose to be miserable.” As kindly as I can say this to you? That’s pretty prideful and self-centered. To linger in your guilt is to limit God’s redemptive work in your life and the world. The most selfless thing you can do in this situation is to believe that He has done enough for you, that you are forgiven and free, and although undeserving, entirely covered by mercy.
So while I want to show you empathy and enter into your hurt and pain, I also want to walk you out of it. Because I’ve been there. Rebecca Lyons talks about how when God saves us from something, our responsibility is to extend a hand backwards and bring others out of that place as well. When we are saved from something, we are able to save others. So here I am – extending you a hand into the deep trenches of shame – asking you to walk away from it.
Preach the Gospel to yourself. When you aren’t strong enough, I can do it for you. Jesus came for you. He came for your sin and mistakes. He came to redeem you and make you whole. He paid the price so we don’t have to anymore. So don’t put yourself on a cross and think your pain can justify you. He did that for you. He was the only one capable.
Choose to believe that the Gospel is good news for you. You preach it to others all the time, right? But now is the climax – now is the real true test – will you believe it for yourself? This is when you learn if you actually believe it at all. If it isn’t true for you, it isn’t true for any of us – right? Do you believe He paid the price for you? Do you believe you’re free?
You don’t have to be defined by this. Whatever happened, when you ask for forgiveness from the Lord, you have it. You are set free. No sin is evil enough or horrible enough to take you away from His Presence and His love. Nothing you could choose to do can separate you from His redemption in your life. You have to trust that.
Be brave. Make the hardest choice ever: believe that He did it all for you, that He is for you and loves you and has new mercies for you every single morning. Every single moment, really. Every time you start to be pulled back into that place of regret and shame, remember what He did for you.
Let Christ win in your life today. Do not let the fear, blame, regret, guilt, shame, shock, confusion, exhaustion of your sin overtake you any longer. It doesn’t get to rule in your life. It isn’t in charge of you. Let it go. Bring it to the foot of the Cross and believe that it can stay there because Jesus didn’t. Walk to the other side in freedom.