I was and am a sinner. I’ve made some pretty bad mistakes in my 18 years of life, and then I allowed my sins to control me. Not in the sense that I kept on repeating those sins, (although there has been a sin or two that has gone like that), this was more in the sense of beating myself up over those sins.
I felt for some time like I was the one Christian in the entirety of the world that had managed to mess up so badly that God couldn’t see past it. Crazy I know.
This kept on for a couple months until one day I was watching a movie called St. John in Exile when something hit me. Jesus’s disciples abandoned Him. One of them denied even knowing Him. Yet He still loved them, He forgave them for what they did, and didn’t hold anything against them. I couldn’t believe it.
Thinking about that made me see that God wasn’t constantly reminding me of my shortcomings. He wasn’t comparing me to other people who might not have made my mistakes. He simply forgave me and wiped my slate completely clean. He made me see that I wasn’t the Christian who couldn’t be like everyone else, He made me see that I was a Christian just like everyone else. That I was going to fail and make more mistakes, but that none of that could soil me beyond repair.
We cannot ever hope to be the perfect Christian because the perfect Christian doesn’t exist. God’s Word doesn’t present people who never fail; He constantly shows us people who do fail–just like us. Consider the Apostle Paul. Here was a man who had Christians killed and put in jail and yet later he became passionate for God. Or King David, a man after God’s own heart, yet also a man who let his lustful heart control him one fateful day and he took a man’s wife, got her pregnant, and then had him killed in order to cover it up! Then there’s Jonah who tried to run from God’s will. The list could go on forever, because there are no perfect Christians–not in the Bible, and not now. This isn’t to say that we should get comfortable in our sin and not fight it; rather this is to show that all of God’s people have messed up and sinned and that He continues to love, forgive, and cherish us anyway.
This doesn’t give me an excuse to live as I please while being able to fall back on the fact that my Lord loves me. No, this gives me hope and an even greater reason to want to serve and honor Him. His great love and compassion for us simply makes me want to serve Him better.
So instead of wallowing in guilt and kicking yourself like I did last year, seek forgiveness, repent, turn away, and serve the Lord with everything you’ve got.