For the longest time, I’ve been feeling rather trapped in a prolonged rut of guilt and shame over sinful patterns I am trying to break, and consequently, going through a depression of sorts. And it’s awful.
I want – I long, I strive, for a pure heart that seeks after the LORD. I want to please Him; I desire closeness with my Father more than anything in the world. But my actions, as is the case of any human being, fail to live up to these intentions. I fail. I sin; “…I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7:15)”. And when I fail, I feel a deep sense of shame, and regret.
“You did it again, Madeline. Way to go.”
“See this sin pattern of disobedience? It’s happened for years – see how you’ve prayed and prayed for it to end, and it hasn’t yet. Will it ever stop?”
“You’re hopeless. You’re never going to change.”
“God must be sick of dealing with you, you’re so slow to figuring out this whole obedience thing.”
Such are the lies that I have to battle with, as I’m sprawled out on my bed, tears streaming down my face, just laying there, letting time pass, feeling worthless.
I hate my sin. I hate it all – from the “small” to the “great” (all sin is sin, not one is worse than the other) – I hate them and repent of them with many tears.
“Don’t leave me, LORD. Forgive me. Don’t give up on me. Help me to change.”
Psalm 51 is often read. I repent, and pray and pray and pray that God would rid me of these sins.
Hours, or even days, may pass before I actually begin to feel forgiven, and I am able to know actual freedom.
And then the whole thing happens again. And again. And again.
When will I ever stop???
If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. And I am thankful that I am not alone in this grisly fight against sin, even when it seems like a losing battle.
But you – and I – have not lost yet. It’s not too late for change.
There is a Savior, Christ Jesus, to whom you can run. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)”. (I basically typed that from my memory; it’s been a lifeline for me these days.) There is promised forgiveness. Grab hold of it.
There is grace for all the times you fail – all of them – if you truly repent and and ask for forgiveness. Don’t let the lie “you’ve sinned one time too many for his grace to be effective” distress you. That is not true. Though you sin again, and again, and again, repent. Turn away from your sin and to Christ, and you will be forgiven. I’ve heard it said that God is “the God of second chances”, while I have found Him to be the God of many chances. I have failed him over and over and over, probably millions and millions of times, but he has never failed to bring me back into his loving Fatherly arms.
There is grace for your constant failings, my friends. And that grace can only be found in Jesus. So run to the fountain of that grace, which is his blood, and what is broken can be made whole, what is dead can come alive, what is wounded can heal, what is a sinful pattern can be undone.
With you in the fight,