Friday, April 1, 2011

Lenten Journal Day 21

I attend a bible study group that has been meeting for going on three years now. I can't leave because there are some pretty smart women that throw out tidbits I need to hear. One particular woman enjoys asking seemingly easy questions. Unfortunately, her questions tend to follow you around for several weeks after they are first spoken. They pinch and nibble and refuse to go away. One particularly ornery one is:

When do we stop defining ourselves by our past sin?

Sounds easy enough. I mean, Jesus died for our sin, so if we define ourselves as saved by Christ, then we are clean. Supposedly.

Except, what about those events in our lives that make us cringe at the memory? Stupid stunts we pulled, mean words we spoke, that still haunt us? How about shameful acts that we committed or shameful acts that were committed towards us? How about the hurt from others and the guilt of hurting others? What about those images? The ones that still wake us up and make us relive history in the dead of night or during an extra long carpool? If we are clean and redefined, then how come those memories somehow keep regular visiting hours?

Another smart friend in that there bible study made another comment on another night, that also keeps picking at me.

Who do you need to forgive?

Her answer covers it all.


When do we stop defining ourselves by our past sin?

When we offer ourselves forgiveness.

The other day one of those uncomfortable memories surfaced in my mind, and I decided to sit with it for a minute. To let it hang out for awhile. No cringing. No retreating to the girl I was. Back when. Just sit with a memory in this here present. And then. Then I decided to say to myself, "It's okay. You've learned lots since then. You were good then too, you know. God loved you way before that memory. He loves you in this moment. Right. Now. So let it go... You are forgiven."

That discomfort. It went away.

When do you stop defining yourself by past sin?

When you say to yourself, "You're forgiven. Not excused. Forgiven."

Try it. It feels so, so good.

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 comment:

  1. My question is this: "How much do I miss that bible study?"

    Answer: "Soooooooo MUCH!"