My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. -1 John 3:18-20
If you are caught in the trap of self-critisism, then you are incapable of carrying out the command to love. You are focused completely on yourself when you focus on your failures and when you fight to rebuild your reputation. You’re waiting for men to see you and validate you before you walk out of your pit of self-loathing.
Men may never see your suffering and will, therefore, never tell you you’ve had enough. You may always be ‘that guy‘ to them and as long as you give them the power over your restitution, you will never be free.
There are some sins that humans can handle better than others, so the scale is never balanced. When you are a person who has made mistakes that rocked the foundations of lives and repulsed their imaginations, you may never be able to undo that damage by your ‘good works’ and self-imposed sentence. As long as you are trying to pay your penance, you are willfully staying ‘lost’.
The grace of Jesus does not wait for the dust to settle. It doesn’t wait for you to wash off the blood spatter or for the gun to stop smoking. Grace doesn’t wait for you to sober up. It doesn’t wait for the apology. The immediacy of grace makes everyone uncomfortable. The all-encompassing nature of grace infringes on the sensibilities of human justice. There is always a point of contention in the personal stories of God’s grace that leave people with the sense that somebody got away with something. It seems that something is left unanswered.
Self-critisism has the underlying root of disbelief. Your faith is what saves you and the lack of faith leaves you feeling like you still have to pay. When you consider the price that Jesus paid for sin, you have to decide if what He did was enough. Is your sin bigger than that sacrifice?
It’s common for you to see your willful disobedience and complete disregard for decency to deem you unworthy. We are all unworthy, remember, but who receives the free gift is not up to you. Get over it and get on with the life that He died to give you. Your sin was not ‘spitting on the cross’, but believing your sin is more powerful is.
You stay ‘willfully lost’ when you refuse to accept the fact that Jesus paid your penance.
Jesus was sent for you because God knows your heart better than you do. The fact that you even care about your failures is evidence that you are one of His. If you are one of His, then there is no escape from His grasp. Use your sin as an opportunity to sever your relationship with your ‘self’ and let it die the death it’s headed for anyway. Practice the Love Law, that is by it’s very nature ‘self-less’, it’s the only way to stop the endless cycle of self-condemnation.
In this context, the way to ‘practice the Love Law’ is by laying your life down and stepping away from it. They don’t have to see you as ‘clean’ or ‘forgiven’. When they doubt you, shrug it off. When they whisper about you, let them. When they attack you, take it.
They’re not in charge of compassion and mercy.
God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. -Romans 9:15-16
They don’t get a say in who God forgives or in how He uses a life the ‘builders have thrown out.’
The stone the masons discarded as flawed is now the capstone! This is God’s work. -Psalm 118:22
This is your way to walk down the same road Jesus traveled when He was here. People got it’s start hating Him, so what if they hate you, too?
If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. -John 15:18-19
The ‘godless world’ is not limited to the realm beyond the church doors. The ‘godless world’ has been inside the church for a long time. ‘Godlessness’ is life against ‘God’s terms’. ‘God’s terms’ is referring to the life of grace and peace that Jesus sacrifice provided.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. -Galatians 1:3-5