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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dogged by the Past

Have you ever felt your failures, shortcomings and shamefulness come and swallow you up?

I remember one time I was kind of "spying" on a friend, a friend who had purchased me a very thoughtful Christmas present. I was curious.

I went to the specialty jewelry shop, found the piece I had been given, acted like I wanted to purchase it and began to ask questions. Yes, I admit it, I only wanted to know how much the friend thought I was worth. What was the price tag placed on our friendship?

My questions led me deeper and deeper into this charade. Suddenly I was purchasing a ring I didn't want to the earrings I had been given, a very expensive ring. I had to pedal backwards and dig my way out of the purchase.

Head down, face burning with shame I quickly left the funky little jewelry shop and swore to never return to it or its sister boutique.

By the time I got home I realized how silly my sinful pride was and decided to apologize to the store owner so I could shop there in the future without embarrassment and so I could sleep that night without lying awake chastising myself for what a fool I had been.

I called and fumbled through a crazy, incoherent explanation of my escapade. I felt foolish. Even though I tried to make that incident right, I still could never shop there again for years without feeling incredibly self-conscious.

Have you ever done something you were ashamed of and tried, without success, to atone for it? It may have been something silly like this or it may have been something more serious that destroyed the trust in a relationship. Try as we might to make things right, building trust and forgetting mistakes takes time.

As humans we need time to heal the wounds we experience. We continually look backwards instead of forwards towards the finish line, towards the prize like we are commanded to do (Hebrews 12:2). This backward looking turned Lot's wife to a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:25-27 and Luke 17:31-33)

God is so different than we are. Thankfully He chooses to forget our sin and that's that!

Psalm 103:12 says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Removed. Totally removed. As far as Korea is from Texas. Far, far away. Sins. Gone.

What does this mean for us?

This means we can approach God with confidence each day. We can hold our heads high, looking our God in the eye because we are clean before Him. This is God's plan for us, His purpose for us. "according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence." (Ephesians 3:11-13)

Approach Him with confidence today. Talk with Him. Praise Him today that He is the ultimate eraser. Mistakes and shame that humans can't seem to get over, He takes as far away as the east is from the west and that's far!

"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 as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

1 comment:

Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

Oh how thankful I am that God is not like us and He does not dwell on our sin and relive it over and over in His mind.

Praise Him for grace and mercy!!