You Are More Than Your Sin & Mistakes
“What did I do wrong? We were fine until now.” Choked a voice through the phone, the racking sobs almost tangible in my ear.
“I screwed up. I should be better than this. Who could love me now?” My own voice whispered the hauntingly familiar line.
Last week proved to be a rather emotional one. Friends came to me seeking encouragement and comfort, and I attempted to offer what I could. But nothing I said or did could heal their tattered hearts. I messed up. It's all my fault. No one should love me... was the constant mantra.
How do you heal that wound? Someone thinks they're ugly? I know how to respond to that one. Someone comes needing a hug and kind word? I think I can manage. But when someone comes to me having seen the dark ugliness of their sin...I remain tongue tied. How do you show them the worth they have despite everything appearing contrary? How do you get them to accept the grace of God when even you struggle with accepting it at times?
"I messed up," they said. The only reply I could honestly give them was, "Yes, you did." It would be a lie to say otherwise. Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden, and since then we have followed in their big, muddy footsteps. We were born into sin and we will die in it. Not one human being on this earth has escaped its dark, damp fingers. I could not comfort these friends by saying it wasn't their fault. As sinners they had sinned. All I could say was "Yes, You did mess up."
This is not exactly the comfort one wants to hear when they are struggling with the weight of their sin. We want to hear, "You didn't mess up! It is someone else's fault. You did nothing wrong." After all, those words offer a quick, but temporary, balm to our hurting hearts. Apostle John shows us the falsity of these words.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” -1 John 1:8
All are in sin. There is not one without blemish. But, there is hope in the midst of sin.
John continues on to show us the beauty found in painfully recognizing our sin: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV). Just when despair seems like it may swallow us whole, the beauty of the gospel reaches out and offers us hope.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]When you're cloaked in His forgiveness, His righteousness, then you are loved.[/pullquote]
Sin may bring us to our knees, but His grace brings us to our feet, hands lifted high. Our sin is a nasty sight to behold. Yet, God beheld it all pinned to Christ on the cross. He took on our ugliness, the rottenness of our sin, that we might appear beautiful and spotless before our King.
When we view our sinful hearts, our ugly actions, we may only see the ugliness of sin before us. But, we can rejoice knowing God sees the perfection of Christ put upon us. He has forgiven us our sins.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” -Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)
"This is why you are loved," I reply to my friends' words of "No one can love me." To remain as you are, lost in your sin, you cannot be loved. But when you're cloaked in His forgiveness, His righteousness, then you are loved. You are loved - unconditionally and with no strings attached - by the Almighty, Glorious, Powerful King that created the heavens and earth. You are loved by the God that made the delicate ants and the power of a thunderstorm.
This King claimed you as His, beholding you are beautiful, perfect, worthy of the glory of heaven. That is a love that surpasses all other loves.
We may still painfully see our ugliness when our selfishness pokes through or our pride feels pinched. But God in His infinite goodness and love gave us His Son so that we may be made beautiful in His sight. He forgives us for our wretchedness, and He makes us new. Before His eyes we stand a spotless bride, shining bright and beautiful for her Beloved. Because we were brought down by the weight of our sin, we can be built up in Christ.
So next time you make a mistake, you stumble or you are caught in sin, don't let the weight of sin crush you. When you see the evil in your heart, do not let the whisper of no one can love me creep into your head.
Remember the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes: “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sin.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). We all make mistakes. We all fall into sin. But, we do not remain there. Christ's sacrifice lifts us up, making us new and beautiful. Through Him we are loved.
"Praise be to God that your failure hurts you," I tell my friends... I whisper to myself. Only in this hurt can you receive the greatest gift possible: Grace.