Monday, December 15, 2008

Thoughts on grace.

I never once imagined that I'd find within myself any scrap of thankfulness for all the doubt and fears of the last year.

And yet, here I am. Thankful. Not overly so, I'm not crazy... but these months have done a great deal to break me. I remember the tears and frustration before I came to Christ for this personal relationship. And suddenly, 6 years later, I was at that exact same point again.
Only, this time it accompanied with it the fact that I was not supposed to question the things I was questioning. It's not right, it's not good. It's not something you're suppose to do 6 years down the road.

But, sitting here now, I've been considering the amazing fact of my sins, my anger and violence towards God, has separated me from the presence of God but not the grace of God. And even in that, I believe I would be spending far more precious time within His presence if I were simply able to put aside the last year.

Carmen wrote a song once called "The River" Its' lyrics say:
It doesn't matter who you are
It doesn't matter where you've been
It doesn't matter what the scar
It doesn't matter what the sin
It doesn't matter how you failed
Somewhere along the way
There is healing for your life today.

(it goes on, you can read all the lyrics here)

But, pushing all those thoughts together I considered that my sins don't matter to God.
And now I'll say, OF COURSE my sins matter to God.
But, at the same time, MY sins don't matter to God.
Maybe... keep in mind this is all just theory and conjecture from someone who cries far too much lately.

But, my sins, I often think are something new. They're MY sins. I own the sin, and no one else in the world could possibly have my complex combination of shame and guilt, and fear and doubt and stubbornness etc. etc. etc.
But, since the creation of the world my Father has been watching sin destroy people. Much the same way we watch cancer destroy people now. While everyone asks where the cancer is found, what specific part is it attacking - we all know that most cancer, if left untreated spells death to whomever it touched. The only way to ward it off is violent and painful, extraordinarily expensive and often life changing treatments. The fact that it is in the stomach, colon, lungs... are mere details.

Yet, we define our sins by those details. And I wonder if God just sees the spirit-destroying cancer that is, just as it's aforementioned counterpart, spreading.

Whatever our sin, the cure is still the same. It is costly, life-changing, and most profoundly painful.

But God, somehow in His ways that I don't understand, separated me from my sin. While I writhed in the pain of my sin, separating myself from so many people - He still held onto me. He saw my sin, my struggle as something simply to be gone through.
In this age of divorce, such a commitment would be compared to a couple making it through an affair. Trust broken, anger, lies, and vile things entering into such a blessed union - yet love and absolute unwavering commitment holds the one partner to completely forgive.

Herein lies the problem.

The adulterous spouse, will never find that blessed peaceful happiness they once had with their committed spouse - until they forgive themselves. A fact that will grieve both spouses equally.

In my world, sin comes at a physical cost.
My Savior confuses me and I struggle at the difficult notion of "No child, it's free to you, I've paid the price already."

In my world, sin is never forgotten.
My Savior, watches as I stand guarded, waiting for Him to remind me of old sins each time He sees new ones.

But in my world also, no one would have held onto me after this last year.
But He did.

So tonight, my humbled prayer is simply this:
Father, help me to find the depths of pleasure I once found in our walk together. Help me to embrace Your simple and perfect love, and let go of my distorted views on it. Help me to let go of the sins that only I hold so tightly between us. Thank You Father, for holding onto me and never letting go. You have truly made me wonder, "What can separate me from the love of Christ?"

To connect these thoughts somewhat, there is a great post over at "Christ The Truth" called "Sinning really isn't the worst thing."
It's a good read, and connects with what I'm thinking out loud in this post quite well.


Glen said...

Do you know this quote from Martin Luther. It's had me in tears many many times. He wrote this in a letter to his friend Philip Melancthon:

"If you are a preacher of mercy,do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.

"We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.

"No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner."

Christ's mercy is real and deep - as real and deep as the cross. Therefore my sin must be very real and very deep. But for all eternity we will praise the Lamb who bore it. Be the sinner that you are. Confess it in the knowledge that you are embraced already.

flyawaynet said...

Thanks for your words Glen, but most especially thanks for the post you wrote that I linked to earlier.
I look forward to a day when I can live those words out.