“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us,” Psalm 103:12-13.
Do you have something you feel deeply ashamed about?
Yeah. So do I.
And when I think of the difference between who I want to be and who I really am, I just want to crawl in a hole and hide. Seriously. I want to weep. I’m so, so far off the mark, in so many ways.
But then I remember . . . God doesn’t want me to feel ashamed. No, sir, He doesn’t. Psalm 3:3 tells me He’s the “lifter of my head.” He hates my sin . . . but He loves me. And when He knows I agree with Him about my sin, when He knows how very sorry I am that I keep messing up, He forgives me. He takes that sin into His mighty hand, flexes his enormous muscles, and casts that sin and shame as far as the east is from the west. Which is basically forever, since the east and the west can never meet.
But we do have an accuser. His name is Satan, and Satan wants us to live in shame. He wants us to be burdened down with guilt and despair, for that’s how he destroys us. If Satan can keep us bogged down, feeling like worthless failures, he wins. At least for a while, anyway.
Friends, God will win the war against Satan. But who wins the little everyday battles depends a lot on us, right here, right now. It depends on who we believe.
We can believe Satan. And if we believe Satan, we’ll walk around angry and bitter, or depressed, with no joy and no peace. Or . . .
We can believe God. In which case, we can lift our heads and smile at tomorrow. He loves us. He’s adopted us as His children and written us into His will. Oh, He’s aware that we’re not perfect, but instead of fussing over some mud we may have gotten on our clothes, He simply casts them aside, far, far away, and gives us new clothes. And when we mess up again, as long as He knows we’re really sorry and we’re really trying to stay clean, He’ll toss those dirty, sinful rags aside again and again. Each time, we’ll come out beautiful and smelling like roses.
His love for us never ends. His forgiveness reaches to the worst things we could ever imagine, and removes them from us. His mercy sent His Son to the cross, to take the punishment for those sins. And His grace invites us to sit next to Him—the King of Kings, and also our Father—at the banquet table.
And there’s certainly no shame in that.
Dear Father, Thank You for loving me so much, that love can’t even be measured. Thank You for forgiving me when I fail, and for not throwing those failures in my face. Instead, You remove them far away, into eternity, so I can hold my head high. There aren’t enough thank-you’s to express my gratitude, Lord. I love You.