Boy, have you ever gone through a spell when you were thoroughly and completely ashamed of yourself?
I sure have.
I sure am.
Not because I’ve done anything to be ashamed of but because I feel my heart has been so lacking in compassion.
We can be so hard on ourselves. We prefer to punish ourselves rather than confess our dark heart to the Lord.
In our humanness, we feel we need to be punished. Isn’t that the way the world works? Isn’t that what we deserve?
To bring it to God and have it washed away just for the sincere asking seem preposterous to our feeble minds. And yet that’s what God says we are to do. That’s why his son was sacrificed, that’s why his son was resurrected.
And yet some make forgiveness so cheap. Ask and you will receive. But it isn’t quite as casual as it sounds.
With confession and forgiveness must come a change. James McDonald, famous author and pastor, says, “If you’re faith hasn’t changed you, it hasn’t saved you.” I buy that.
Words are cheap. Maybe we can’t change all at once but if we’re not seeing any progress, our sincerity might be in question.
And I think sometimes we are too quick to ask for forgiveness. If we give ourselves a little time, we might learn that what we think we need forgiveness for is not where the real problem lies. For example, a person might ask for forgiveness for snapping at someone when the underlying issue is really jealousy. The first requires an apology; the second forgiveness.
So let’s not be too hard on ourselves but let’s be honest and thoughtful with our confession.