Earlier this year I was struggling with guilt. I mean, really struggling. Nearly every day there was some sort of failure in my life, something I wished I’d done better, some area I didn’t measure up to my own standard.
I got impatient with my toddler.
I didn’t keep the toys picked up.
I let the bathroom get dirty.
I was frustrated with my husband for no good reason.
All those things happen on a regular basis if you’re a sinner (if you’re not, please tell me how you’re reading this from Heaven), but the key for Christians is to confess the sin, repent, and move on, walking in forgiveness. I had the first parts down, but I couldn’t move on.
I couldn’t accept grace.
Guilt was definitely getting the upper hand in my life. A typical sequence went like this: Get frustrated with Evan for something he’d done (usually quite innocently, like accidentally waking up the baby). Respond wrongly, either verbally or mentally. Cool down, realize that regardless of what had happened, my heart was responding in sinful ways, and confess and repent. Spend the next several hours to few days “beating myself up” for being so stupid. How could I get mad over that? I’m a terrible wife! (Does anyone see the hidden pride here? I couldn’t believe that I could sin!)
The guilt would snowball, as I then felt guilty for not accepting forgiveness and grace, for not moving on. And as evidenced by the list above, I felt guilt not only over actual sins, but lots of things that were really just my pride trying to sneak in the back door. A dirty bathroom is not a sin!
I spent a lot of time trying to get a handle on my out-of-control guilt. And finally, after months of wrestling, I had an epiphany:
I was despising the cross.
In the past, I’d associated that phrase with people who abused grace by continuing to live in sin (Romans 6:1-3), but my eyes were opened and I realized that to reject God’s grace for my sin was to say that Jesus’ death wasn’t enough.
Friends, if you are caught in this trap, let me tell you: Jesus’ death is enough! When He said “It is finished,” He meant everything that you have ever done, and everything that you will ever do. Believe Him. Accept the grace. Walk in forgiveness.
It is finished.
(Re-posted from the Archives)
Photography: JenniMarie Photography