Bible Study · Thoughts

Sin or Mistake?

So I’m sitting in a group talking about the dumb things we do in life and I hear that new but familiar whisper in my mind, “God takes care of our sin.  He doesn’t need to fix our mistakes, we do.”

It was quite an abrupt thought actually.  I had to ask myself, “Is it a mistake when I get angry or is it a sin of judgement and unkindness?  Is it a mistake that I hurt someone’s feelings or a sin? What’s the difference and why does it matter?”

For me a mistake is something I do by accident, without premeditated thought and without contemplating the consequences.  A sin, on the other hand, is something I do knowing full well what the consequences are and not caring at that immediate moment.  Both cause regret and both should be addressed immediately but only one seems an intentional misuse of God’s gift of grace while the other seems an unintentional way to be forced to ask for someone else’s grace.

I sit back and think to myself, “The trouble is, if it’s my job to fix my mistakes, then when I sin and call it a mistake it becomes my job to take care of my sin.  So, do I really want to be held accountable for all of the sins I can’t take care of?  I think I’m pretty tied up already working on fixing all those mistakes!  It’s probably much easier to come clean, ask for God to take it and release it than to hang on to the delusion that it was ‘just a mistake’. ”

Then I hear, “Stop calling it a mistake and start asking for forgiveness and strength.”

Uh huh…noted.

Bible Study · Thoughts

Grace, Ah, So That is What It Is.

Colossians 1:21 – “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds which was shown by your evil actions…”

It’s interesting how we believe that God is mad at us when we do wrong things.  We suddenly “see things where there are none” and we alienate ourselves from Him.  But God never moves away from us…we move away from Him.

1:22 – “But now he has reconciled you by His physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame”.

Huh, so that even if I have separated myself from Him I am not being accused?

It is amazing to me – this gift I didn’t really understand that existed all along.

How could I – who have attended church all my life, I who have prayed regularly, read my bible, taught bible classes, and converted others – how could I have actually missed the real message behind all of that?

When I am telling others of God’s complete forgiveness is it really possible I could have missed the point?  That they could have walked away with that assurance while I remained in bondage?

And the promise was right there all along – in the bible I’ve read a hundred times!

Thoughts

All We Have to Do

Its about Time Series III’m always busy, always overwhelmed with what I have to do.  I can’t seem to sit still. I spent much of my life being busy, looking busy, feeling busy inside.  I remember quite clearly that this stems from a father that you didn’t want to catch you not busy, in case he found something for you to do.  Dad would come home in the evening and we would all scatter like leaves, spending much of our time outside or in our rooms.

Later when I got married at 17, at the insistence of my parents, to a man eight years older than I was the feeling didn’t go away.  Three months after the wedding day I conceived and within the year I had my first child, within four I had my third.  The struggle to please and look busy was replaced by necessity.  Active in church to the point of feeling like a full-time job I added God to my list of men I had to be busy to please.  Now, over 30 years and 6 children later, I find that it has become a horrible habit I can’t shake, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

Sitting in church Sunday I hear this phrase and it rocks my world; We are saved, not by any works of our own, but by grace.  So I’ve been spinning my wheels all this time, never feeling good enough, never “doing enough” and all this time the ride was paid for?

I sit there stunned. I know I knew this but I guess I never internalized it.  Somehow I’d missed the implications of the gift. I had spent some of that busy time feeling obligation, guilt, frustration and loss, and believing that by my good works God would find me good enough to love, to bless, to invite into heaven.  It frustrates me and I am a bit angry for having gave up my time and my life in that way.

Then I suddenly feel a kind of satisfaction as I contemplate the implications…there were also times that I spent my life being busy for the right reasons; the love of my family, the concern for a friend, the comfort of a pet.  I know these were my gift to God and colleagues in this life because it was never expected.  All I had to do was have faith.

I realize that all I have to do is not on my to-do list.  It’s the decision I make, when I wake up in the morning each day, to believe.