As a fellow human being, I too was born a sin addict. Though the Lord Jesus has redeemed me and dressed me in his own righteousness so that I may approach our Heavenly Father without fear of condemnation, my humanness still craves sin. And that craving does sometimes overcome me and I give in. In defiance, because I want what I want no matter what God says, I sin. This past week, I gave in big time and binged in my sin addiction. The guilt and shame I experienced due to my deliberate sinful actions were overwhelming. I knew in my intellect that as I repented and begged God’s forgiveness, he was there forgiving and embracing me. Yet my heart had built up a wall between us and I hid from him much like Adam and Eve did in the garden. The conflict this caused in me set me up to make one of two decisions – I could either run farther from God into sin to numb the shame and guilt that ate at me or come out of hiding and face God. With the aid and encouragement of some very good friends, I came out of hiding and found not the condemnation I deserved, but the loving embrace of God waiting for me.Bear with me as I seem to change the subject, but not really. Also this week, my mother got a 12-week old Shih Tzu. She is the cutest thing I ever saw and my heart is enamored with her. Her every puppy action is so adorable, I can’t take my eyes off of her because I don’t want to miss a thing. She is a timid little thing and being a toy breed, she is small and fragile. She is a tiny creature and to her, I am a giant, so when I approach her, I get down on the ground to make myself accessible to her and so I don’t scare her. When she flops out of her cage and comes running to me, joy fills every part of me. I spent an hour the other day just lying on the kitchen floor playing with her and every time she licked my face, happiness burst out of me as laughter. Being a puppy, she has lots to learn – like where to do her business, what she can and cannot eat, where she is allowed to go and not…. And being a puppy, she makes lots of mistakes (sometimes deliberately, even though she really does know she’s not supposed to). I correct her, but my heart is wrapped around her little paw and I could never not love her fully.
God loved me before the world existed. From the very beginning, I was in his heart and he carefully created me to be the person I am. In joy, his heart is drawn to watch over me – kind of like how my heart enjoys seeing Molly be the puppy she is. He is a giant to my small and fragile nature and, like me with Molly, he came down to my level in the person of Jesus Christ to interact with me and share his heart with me. His Spirit within me gently corrects me when I sin – not to hurt or punish, but to guide me in the right way. Even when I stubbornly follow my will and not his, he doesn’t hate me or want to condemn me. Rather he aches to welcome me back into his arms with joy. If I, as a flawed human being, can love Molly with such forgiving whole-hearted love, imagine how much God loves us – not as pets, but as his very own children whom he gave the life of his Son to save. I love Molly, but in the end she is a dog and if she runs in front of a Mac truck, I’m not going to run out in front of it to save her. (Sorry Mom!) But God’s love for me is so deep and true and perfect that as my sin brings me to the cross, Jesus runs out in front, pushing me out of the way to safety, to take my place on the cross.
Yes I am a sinner and God loves me. I just need to run into his arms, sinner that I am, to know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that I may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
About the pictures:
Molly (12-week old Shih Tzu) August 2011