Nobody likes a mess. I know I don’t. The very sight of anything that is slightly disorderly or haphazard in any way, makes my skin crawl. What makes me even more upset at times, is knowing that I myself have contributed largely to the mess I see in front of my eyes.
I was at a Christian youth conference once, and it had been time to eat. My friends and I decided to take our food back to the room. The problem was that I had underestimated how many things I had needed to carry. So as I was leaving the lunchroom, I ended up juggling between the main meal in a Styrofoam container, a juice box, and the dessert. The dessert was the trickiest one to handle, as it consisted of a glass platter filled with fruits. It was quite the balancing act, and I should have known that it was an accident waiting to happen.
To make matters worse, my friends had already been way ahead of me, and I had to struggle to keep up. Then, it happened: I was outside of the building in the lunchroom corridor when I began to feel the glass platter slowly slipping out of my hands, until…Yes, the entire platter dropped right onto the ground, fruits and all. I couldn’t believe it. My first reaction wasn’t the best. Upon seeing the mess that I had made, I quickly walked away before anyone could see. As I stood a distance away from the mess, I watched as people passed by, all suspiciously eying the mess that I left behind.
Later, upon feeling extremely guilty, I decided to go back and pick up the pieces. One of the ladies that worked there saw what I was doing and stopped me. “No, you don’t have to clean that up. I am sending someone to take care of it.”
Although she spoke these words with sincerity, still I doubted. I told her that it was my mess, and I felt that I should be the one to clean it up. (This is just in my nature. I never like to feel like I am heavily burdening someone).
Then, in what appeared to be sympathy, she smiled and told me not to worry. She once again assured me that the mess would now be in someone else’s hands. I couldn’t help but be puzzled, yet grateful, as I walked away. Since I was the one that created the mess in the first place, should I not be the one to bear the burden alone?
A lot of us think in the exact same way, when it comes to our own messy situations. There’s nothing messier than our sins, and we are up to our eyeballs in this gooey mess. Yet, we feel as if we have to clean up our mess ourselves. The good news is, not only do we no longer have to remain in this mess, but there is Someone willing to clean it all up for us.
Jesus took upon Himself our burden of sin, and no longer do we have to subject ourselves to it. The most beautiful thing about the love of God, is that He can redeem and restore us, despite all of our past failures and hurts.
If you’re like me, you may have a hard time accepting the fact that God has forgiven you. Sometimes I find myself reminding Him countless times of my past mistakes. I apologize time and time again. You know, just in case the Lord didn’t really mean it when He said He had forgiven me the first twenty times. That is the human nature for you. We struggle with this concept of forgiveness, especially God’s forgiveness, which is on a whole other level. It is mind-blowing, yet it is real and very much available to us.
In Romans 8:1, we read that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus does not hold our past sins against us, despite our track record. He demonstrates love and mercy, in response to our past offences. If we truly believed this, then there would be no need for us to keep bringing it up over and over again.
In Romans 3:23, it says: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”…but it doesn’t stop there. In verse 24, this passage goes on further to tell us that we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” See, we are born as sinners, so it means that we are prone to mess up and to make mistakes. God knows this, and He made provision for us.
In Romans 5:8, we are told that: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Then in 1 John 1:9, we read that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Christ has given us a gift we don’t deserve: A Second Chance. Believing this should make us more compassionate the next time, someone does something grievous against us. For if Christ has forgiven us, who are we not to forgive one another? We will remember that we ourselves have committed mistakes too, and this should keep from condemning and judging others. (We will go more in-depth with this in Part Two)
The battle with sin has always been a struggle for mankind. The Apostle Paul knew this all too well. In Romans 7:15, Paul says: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. Here Paul is very real with acknowledging his shortcomings, but we are grateful that He doesn’t end there. In Philippians 3:13, Paul emphasizes the need of moving forward, and not being burdened down by our past mistakes: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The work that Christ is doing in our lives doesn’t stop with us still living in our sins. By God’s grace, we can and will become victorious. We know this because in Matthew 1:21, it clearly tells us that Jesus came to save a people “from their sins”.
One of the most compelling passages in the Bible can be found in 2 Corinthians 4:9-11: “…[We are] persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Essentially, Paul is telling us that it is critical that we keep moving forward by faith. We need to always keep in mind the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and in doing so, we will remember that sin has no more power in our lives. Jesus’ death gives a testament to this fact and more: It also gives us the assurance that we can all have a renewed life in Him here on earth and eternal life forevermore. (1 John 5:12, Romans 6:11)
As long as we are living on this earth, we will fall, but the trick is not to stay down. In Proverbs 24:16, it says that “a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.”
So don’t give up. The One who sees all, knows how hard the battle is and He has promised to be there right beside you until the end. Keep persevering, despite the hardships you are presented with. Don’t be discouraged, but believe and know that there is hope in Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 2:24)
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