It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. –Galatians 5:1
My husband and I were driving home from dinner with friends and suddenly found ourselves bickering over nothing of importance. The next thing we knew, our wonderful day together had been spoiled by a fight that could have been avoided. We finished our drive home in tense silence.
By the time we got home, we both realized how silly our argument had been. Still hurt and angry, it was hard to know where to start. He broke the silence by apologizing for his part and I quickly followed as I recognized my part. It should have ended there, but I didn’t let it. I couldn’t stop apologizing and saying how sorry I was. Even the next morning the first words out of my mouth were another apology about how wrong I had been. That’s when he told me to stop.
I probably would have kept apologizing all through the next day if he had not stopped me. It was hard for me to accept his forgiveness. I continued to want to make it up to him and do things for him to show him how very sorry I was. In fact, I often find myself doing that with God, too.
I carry shame and guilt over sins I have already confessed. I hold onto the guilt and work to make it up to God. I live as if I am really, really sorry, then He will forgive me. Or, if I do something for someone else today, then maybe I will make myself right before God. However, that is not what the Lord has for us. Christ has set us free. Not free to do whatever we please but free from the penalty of sin. In fact, we have freedom from having to earn His love and earn His forgiveness. He has already paid the price and he has already forgiven us of our vices and shortfalls.
Actions in keeping with repentance are appropriate! But, all those extra “sorry’s” and all the things I do to try to make myself right with God are not about Him. Those things are all about the attempts I make to improve my “standing” in His eyes. And they are simply mistaken. So the challenge becomes: how do you and I accept the invitation God gives us to live a life that is free? How do we live a life not trying to earn forgiveness but accepting what has been freely given?
1. In what ways do you have a hard time accepting the freedom found in a relationship with Christ?
2. What makes it hard for you to forgive yourself?
Psalm 32:1-5; John 14:16-17; Romans 8:1-2