My heart has been aching lately. For more reasons than I can publicly say, but I’ll say this much. Life is hard. Complicated. All people are sinful and some people allow their sins to turn them cruel.
And my heart hurts for those who are trying so hard to be the first to repent and account for their part in the mess, only to be thrown under the bus, like a sacrifice to the chaos gods, keeping everything off-kilter so that one group of people can stay in their comfort zone and the others, well, so be it.
Let’s start with some lies that are told far too often.
It’s always someone else’s fault.
It is never totally one person. Never. While it may not be 50/50, it is never 100/0. Taking a big step back to look at the big picture has been a lifesaver for me time and again. I consider myself fairly self-aware. Maybe it’s because I blog so much? well, that certainly helps. But I have strived over and over to be honest, first with myself and in the inner monologue I have in my head. I work out the possible explanations and rationales that exist, and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I also know, oh dear Lord, how I know, the depth of my own sinfulness and arrogance. And by default I know that everyone else in the equation is sinful and arrogant. My sinfulness may look and act differently than yours, and it will all together create a chaotic mess when we just let it all go. Someone has to take responsibility. Someone has to step in and set things straight.
Enter Grace. Whatever it is, it’s covered. When you are grieved by sin, your own or someone else’s, you can know with 100% confidence that Jesus died for it. It wasn’t left out or overlooked. It wasn’t a loophole in a lengthy legal document. It was fully and completely accounted for on the cross. The way you get to claim that is through repentance. That is the gift of the Spirit who draws us to himself and to a place where we can clearly hear our guilt and judgment spoken aloud, and then we get to see it washed away. It is our sins that held Jesus on the cross, until it was accomplished. It is finished.
When you are grieved by sin, your own or someone else’s, you can know with 100% confidence that Jesus died for it. It wasn’t left out or overlooked. It wasn’t a loophole in a lengthy legal document. It was fully and completely accounted for on the cross. The way you get to claim that is through repentance.
I shouldn’t have to pay for my mistakes for the rest of my life.
Some mistakes, by nature, are life-long. Consequences can be fabricated or natural, and what we fail to realize sometimes is that the natural consequences are far more severe and lasting.
When you get a prescription they also give you a huge pile of papers that tell you everything you should know about the meds you are taking, the pros and cons so to speak. They really do try to cover all their bases (CYA) and if you don’t bother reading it, you can’t really blame the pharmacy for not telling you when you get a side effect that is clearly listed on the paper.
This is like sin and its consequences. Our actions and words have a very specific list of possible consequences. They may not all happen, and not every time, so we calculate the risks and decide to go ahead and take the pill. But sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we don’t do any calculation at all, or we use a messed up calculation or read the wrong paper on the wrong drug. Why? Because we don’t really want to know and we definitely don’t want to deal with the possible fallout. We want to make ourselves comfortable at the moment, or we think that we’re somehow immune to the cause-effect factor in the world. Or maybe we think that because we believe in Jesus’ atonement for our sins that He also wiped out the consequences. This isn’t so. Our broken world and our broken hearts continue to work their darkness in our lives and in the lives of those we love. I don’t have to convince anyone of that, I’m sure.
Oh how I wish I had considered all the possible side effects of my sins in the past. To this day, I suffer from choices I made years and years ago, and I see how these sins creep up on me and those I love in the present day. It is discouraging to say the least. What do I do? At times I wallow in self-pity and self-doubt and self-loathing. Other times, I start rehearsing all the blame-shifting rationalizations I’ve worked out in my head about how it wasn’t really my fault. That I had to do what I did because of blah blah blah. None of it is true, and sooner (hopefully) than later, I come to the place where I need to be: at the feet of Jesus, where I lay me down. I lay down my pride. I lay down my weaknesses. My temptations. My stubbornness. I lay down the past, the present, and the future. I give them all over to the One who paid it all. Paid for it all. I remember that the One who washed away my sin also makes a way to redeem its effects. I have seen the redemption happen. It is often slower than I want. But it is always more perfect than I could have imagined it.
I remember that the One who washed away my sin, also makes a way to redeem its effects. I have seen the redemption happen. It is often slower than I want. But it is always more perfect than I could have imagined it.
We have a problem. All of us. It’s simply called sin. It is not simple. It is overwhelmingly complex and all-encompassing. What you do with your sin decides everything. What will you do with it? What will you allow it to do to you and to those who love you? Will you continue to believe lies, clinging to the smoke and mirrors of deceit and self-righteousness? Or will you cling to the cross? Jesus, keep me near the cross…