So you sinned again. But not only did you sin, but you sinned that sin that you said you would never sin again. The same one that has been tripping you up for what seems like forever. Now what do you do?
For most of us, our gut reaction is to run away from God. We turn from Him and instead of seeking His face in prayer and confession, we bury ourselves in our Netflix queues, or an immersive book, or we spend the rest of the day scanning our social media feeds. We do anything to hide from God. Why?
I believe it's because, in our ignorance, we think, "Well certainly after I sinned, after I sinned the big one, the one I told Him I would never go back to, the last thing He wants is to hear from me. He would much rather I do my penance, wallow in my guilt for a little while, and then once I have cleaned myself up a bit, then come sulking back to Him."
And when we finally do come sulking back to God, maybe after a day of hiding or sometimes longer, we expect nothing from Him but a cold, "I told you so" and a slap on the wrist for good measure.
I fall into this trap more often than I would like to admit. I found myself in it just the other day, in fact. But Christian, this line of thinking is so out of line with the Gospel that saved you and me!
In the Gospel, Christ does not proclaim to us, "Come to me after you clean yourself up a bit!" No! With open arms, He exhorts us to come as we are! To lay our burdens down. To put all of our cards on the table. To reveal to Him who we really are, inside and out. To lay down all of our self-righteousness and self-effort and say to Him, "Jesus, I am a sinful mess. But you are the perfect Son of God and I'm banking on your righteousness and not my own."
That invitation does not stop after we get saved.
So many of us fall into the trap that tells us we begin by grace and by faith, but as soon as the salvation ball gets rolling, it's up to us to keep it that way. It's up to us to keep ourselves in God's good graces, so He will smile down on us and not snatch our salvation away and taunt us with it like some kind of cosmic bully.
Are you kidding me? Why do we allow ourselves to believe that? Do we have any idea the kind of God we serve? This is the God that let a murderer like Moses lead His chosen nation! This is a God that prospered an adulterous king! This is a God whose closest disciple denied Him three times when He was at His darkest moment.
To really think that God loves you any less when you sin is absurd. It's an idea that goes against the entire storyline of the Bible and I am begging you, for the sake of your salvation and for the sake of God's glory, stop viewing God like this. He is not an angry pagan deity that needs to be satiated by blood every so often to keep him at bay. He is not in Heaven eagerly waiting for you to mess up so He can drop a lightning bolt on your head. He is a loving Father that chose you before you were born to be His child. And when He chose you, He was fully aware of every single sin you were ever going to commit.
So next time you sin, resist the temptation to run. Resist the desire to hide away from God and instead, remember that in spite of all your failures and shortcomings, God chose you anyway. And let Him welcome you with open arms and let Him lavish you with grace and forgiveness and let Him be the Father that He truly is to you. That is the proper response to sin.
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