If you’re at all like me, you’ll know how easy it is to slip into the same old thought patterns, and then to quickly slide into judging ourselves. It’s a downward cycle, isn’t it, making us try harder and harder until we’re exhausted and discouraged and tempted to quit?
We know that God hates sin. We remember Habakkuk’s statement that God is too pure to look on sin. So we hate and fear the sin that we see in our lives because we long to be close to God.
But the God who is too pure too look at sin not only looked at it, not only touched it, but took it into himself so completely that the Bible says Jesus became sin. He carried it so completely that it took Him all the way to hell. So when we believe the picture that has God at the top repulsed by our sin as we struggle alone down at the bottom we are believing the devil’s version – the version that has the center cut right out of it. The true picture has Jesus in the center, God and humanity united in this one Person, loving us and hating sin enough to take sin into Himself to destroy its power.
God’s hatred of sin is not (and never was) against us but for us. (Remember Romans 5:8?) Since God took our sin right into Himself, we do not need to fear being alone in our struggle with sin. God does not turn away from us when we sin. We turn away from Him. (That’s what sin is: turning from God to something else.) When we mess up, God does not shudder with horror and turn His back to us, waiting for us to put it right. He holds us tight, keeps pursuing our hearts, gently and lovingly helping us turn around until we are face to face with Him again. When we resist the turning, the love can hurt, but all of His help is given with this one purpose: to turn us back, face to face with Him again.
The whole of our life with God is meant to be a tuning of our hearts to beat more closely in time with His. So when we sin, we also don’t need to shudder with horror and turn our back on ourselves in despair. If sin is the turning away from God, repentance is the turning back, and we turn back not by condemning ourselves (that is the devil’s territory – Rev 12:10; John 3:17-18; Rom 8:1) but by quietly acknowledging our inability to keep our hearts turned to Him, and asking for our Father's help. We're half-turned already in the asking, and He turns us the rest of the way, cupping our face in His hands and lifting it to His own where, through our tears, we again see His smile.
Know anyone who might be encourage by this today? Feel free to pass it along.