As I think about grieving over my sins, I mean really being sorrowful about them, there is one that continues to haunt me. Every time I think about it I shudder, and cover my face in shame and embarrassment. I have to be careful, though. The devil doesn’t want me to remember I’m forgiven. He wants me to carry that burden of guilt and shame my whole life because then, he has me in bondage. Still, even today remembering I’m forgiven is an effort.
In college I went to a party and drank way too much. Somehow, I still remembered I was assigned to hand out communion at church the next morning. So when I got to the party I told my friends to be sure to wake me up on time to get home the next morning…because THAT’S a good idea! Let’s drink to oblivion the night before, but as long as I’m in church on Sunday I’m good to go (sarcasm).
When I was woke up the next morning I was still drunk; too drunk to be driving, but I made it home. Now, our church was being renovated. So we didn’t actually have church in the sanctuary, but in the fellowship hall next door. To properly understand my humbling position, let me paint the picture for you: the building was hot and overcrowded, I was still drunk and could hardly stand straight, I could smell myself so I knew I stunk like alcohol and who knows what else, and everybody knew me. There was no hiding my condition.
Oh but wait!! It gets worse. When the priest handed me the wine to drink before the congregation I looked down and whispered an expletive. Then, I caught myself and pressed my lips together. I closed my eyes and thought, I can’t believe I just cussed in front of a priest! I let the wine touch my lips, but I was already feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of drinking any.
Only by the grace of God was I able to stand there for what felt like an eternity and pass out communion, without passing out myself. I know I embarrassed Mom because she was the other person helping with communion. So when the apostle Paul says he believes he is the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15-16), I can definitely relate. I believe my life is a perfect example of Ecclesiastes 7:20, which says:
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.
I have always tried to be a good person. I wanted to help people, but as it turns out, I just learned how to play the game of religion. I had my secrets, and now you know one of them. Then came what is possibly the two most important words in the entire Bible…but God. Thank God for those words!!
In the book of 1 John 1:9, Scripture says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I confessed my sins, and the Lord forgave me. He purified me from all unrighteousness…with his blood. Looking back, I can honestly say I don’t believe I am worth someone’s life. Look how bad I’ve messed up. However, God sees it differently:
But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
No one has loved me like Jesus…no one. I definitely did not deserve his love. I didn’t earn it, and he really didn’t ask my opinion. He volunteered to take the punishment I deserved so I could have the hope of an eternity in heaven. The debt of my sin that was mine to pay, Jesus suffered, as it says in Colossians 2:13-14:
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
So although yesterday’s post about crying for our sins wasn’t fun to read, it made sense to me. I can’t help but cry for an innocent man who accepted what was meant for me. Now crying, for me, is a sign of victory, not weakness. It is an outward display of my inability to understand, yet my immense gratitude for being saved from the fires of hell. I cannot…CANNOT overestimate the Father’s love for us or his power to save. I think those two small words will always be my favorite…but God.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16
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