“I dwell in a high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.” – Isaiah 57:15b
Sin is a dirty word. We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to acknowledge sin may be a problem in our lives. So we hide it or ignore it. I do that, too, sometimes, but am beginning to see my sin as God does:
- He hates my sin, but he loves me.
- He’s not surprised when I sin. He knows my frailties.
- My sin grieves God, partly because of how it damages me.
- God is holy and cannot look on sin, so my unconfessed sin is a barrier between me and God, between me and answered prayer, between me and the blessing God wants to give me (see Isaiah 59:1-2).
Maybe we should begin looking at our sin in a whole new way – not as something to hide, but as something to be acknowledged, something from which we can be freed. It’s like working in the garden all day, coming in hot, dusty, and sweaty. We can ignore our condition or we can get in the shower. Which is better?
All God asks is that I recognize my action or attitude as sin, then confess and receive forgiveness and the strength to overcome. The joy of confession is that my relationship with him is fully restored, my prayers are heard, and my life is blessed. Confession is not a bad word. It is cleansing, restorative word – something we should not turn from, but should run toward. It’s like a nice, warm shower!
“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” – Jerry Bridges
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4-5
Do you ever go through those times when you think, “Why does God even bother with me? I’ve let him down again. I keep failing to overcome some of the issues that haunt me. I don’t know why he doesn’t just give up on me.”
Listen. Really listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit inside you as you sit in his presence, as you pray, as you read the Bible. You are likely to hear something like this:
I love you even when you feel unlovable. And because I love you, I
- answer your prayers
- guide your steps
- teach you through my Word
- protect you from the evil one
- draw you closer to me
- will take you someday to a place where we can be together forever.
I love you just because. You’re going to have to get used to that!
Can you believe that? Really believe it? It’s true, you know. God loves each of us unconditionally. Once we grasp the reality of that truth, we will never be the same. Our worthiness is not even a small part of the reason God loves us. He loves us because he created us. He loves us because it is part of his eternal nature to love us – no matter what. How can we help responding with joy to such unconditional, unchanging love? Believe it. Live in it. To God, you are always lovable. And always loved!
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ, and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” – Brennan Manning