“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter…”
I am almost always the hero in my stories. Even if I am portraying myself as downtrodden, it is because I am being oppressed by forces conspiring against my good and just cause. For instance, I have never committed a driving infraction; I was always either cut off or tailgated or caught in a speed trap or something. More to the point, I will lie, cheat, and conceal facts to make myself look good. I want to appear innocent, even if I am not.
Therefore, it would stand to reason that if someone came along and said, “Hey, guess what? I can make you truly innocent. I can take away the guilt and shame of all the bad things you’ve done and make it as if you never did anything wrong. You will be put in right standing with most important force in the universe, the One who created you and knew you before you were even born – God.”
Why do I have such a hard time accepting grace then?
I don’t seem to have much of a problem trying to cover my tracks. I don’t have much of a problem not admitting my struggles. I don’t have much of a problem repeating the same sins over and over and over again. It makes absolutely zero sense that I wouldn’t come running into the arms of grace every time it was offered. Without grace, I have no peace; all I have is guilt and shame. Without grace, I am nothing but a lawless rule-breaker.
I just can’t wrap my head around it, though. I mean, I did something wrong. Punishment should follow, right? Sure, the Bible says “all sins,” but what I did was really, really bad. I confess my sins to God, and sometimes I even get brave enough to confess them to other people, but it doesn’t feel like that’s enough. Every hit I take in life must be the retribution I deserve from a righteous God. It simply cannot be as easy as Him just saying, “I forgive you.”
I’d like to lay this skewed perspective off on depression, but the fact is lots of people think this way. We run from the very thing that can give us peace. And why? Because we don’t believe we’re worthy of it. I am guilty, guilty, guilty, and there is no way I should not expect the hammer to fall on me. I run from grace because I believe it is too easy. It is described as a “gift,” but I don’t feel as I’ve earned it … which basically defeats the purpose of grace.
I am not the hero. I am not the good guy. I am not always in the right. If I were, though, there would be no need for grace. So maybe it’s time to drop the act. Not that I’m going to start blurting out every bad thing I do to anyone who will listen, but maybe it’s time to stop caring about the image so much and start caring about getting better. Guilt is a vicious cycle; grace is the brakes. If I can only be half as good a driver as I think I am, maybe I can finally hit the pedal.