Self-Forgiveness, God using us, etc, etc.

18“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

–Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)

It’s funny to me that the one person who is hardest to forgive is me. I think it’s universally true, too–we don’t mind forgiving others, but sheesh, if we screw up, then watch out, because there’s no hope for us, right? (that was rhetorical, but the answer is “wrong!“)

It’s so weird to me. People I know who got pregnant before they got married, and now they are serving and plugged into the body of Christ, I have no trouble seeing how God loves them and uses them and overlooks what they’ve done, and I have no trouble overlooking it. But if I did that, or even when I do struggle with sexual sins, it is like the end of the world for me. I wonder why that is? Let me be very honest and go through the thought process I go through when that happens.

“Hmm, I know I shouldn’t do it. It would feel really good, but I know I shouldn’t do it. It’s wrong. It’s dishonoring to myself, God, and women. but how else will I get rid of the urge? I’m not married. I think God understands. Is it wrong to act on the sex drive God gave me if it’s not hurting anyone else? God gave it to me, so I think it’s okay to act on it, because He knows how tough it is. Okay. I’ve made up my mind. I’m going through with it.”

 

….

 

“I really shouldn’t have done that. That was stupid. What was I thinking? I don’t feel any better. It’s so repetitive. That’s not who I am. Jesus, thank You for forgiving me. I’m sorry.”

Then enters another voice, sounding very similar to my own.

You can’t thank Jesus. You just willingly messed up. You knew what you were doing.”

“I know. But I couldn’t help it! I’m just so glad Jesus will forgive me…”

“How can you talk to Jesus right now? How can you even SAY the name of Jesus right now?”

“You’re right…I need to go take a run or something to work off this frustration.”

And so it is with me. And yes, I run or play football to work off frustration and try to shake those thoughts, although not every run is for that purpose.

But I think writing that out helps, do you see how I succumbed to a lie? And it’s paralyzing, the thought that I have to wait to turn to Jesus. Yes, I screwed up, and yes, I knew it. But does that mean it’s over for me?

The Lord says,

“though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.”

Maybe that means, “even though your sin is bad, I will redeem you. I will save you, and I will continue to save you. I don’t want you to mess up, but that doesn’t mean that I am disappointed in you, and I am far more powerful than sin is, and I can still use you.”

I think that’s what it ultimately comes down to: the power of sin, or the power of the cross? Which do we believe is stronger?

It is my belief that we learn something every time we mess up. Lots of coaches and players in sports say you learn more from a loss than you do a win.

So let me reason it like this:

If God is not mad at us when we mess up, whether we know it or not, and He is more powerful than sin is, then why can’t we forgive ourselves OR others when sin happens?

 

I will end with this, because it’s always my heart when discussing sin:

Romans 6:1-2

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!

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