When I was young — in my 20s young — and young in my faith, I made many mistakes. I was sometimes so rigid in my beliefs that I thought everything was sin. I sometimes feared that God would cut me off and cast me out because I could not be perfect in thought, word or deed. And when bad things happened, as it does in all of our lives, I always seemed to think it was a punishment of sorts because I failed God and myself so many times. Let me just say that I would condemn myself for bad thoughts or not being nice to things that today’s young people would call more lame than bad.
Yes folks, I was a bit of a perfectionistic mess! The Bible tells us that all have fallen short of God’s glory. We might also know that when we make mistakes, we only need ask and God will forgive us. Forgiveness does not mean that there will be no consequences to our actions, it means that when God forgives, he wipes our sins away as far as the East is from the West. Although I knew all of this, I still struggled with accepting the true forgiveness and acceptance of God. I think perhaps there are many others that have or continue to struggle with this issue. But rejoice in knowing that we can accept God’s forgiveness and he can indeed heal and purify us.
When we make mistakes – and they will range the gambit from yelling at our children when we are tired, eating on 25 pounds of browning cake, to harshly criticizing others when we have done the same thing we are condemning them for – we must know that we must ask for forgiveness of those we have harmed and of God. The Great Lord Almighty will indeed forgive us. Next, comes the hard part: We must also forgive ourselves. If not, this unforgiveness will become a form of cancer in our soul, eating away at us and pushing us away from our celestial healer – Jesus Christ.
I know of what I speak. I have a hard time forgiving myself. I used to walk around with a 50-pound weight of sin on my shoulders, not seeming to remember that Jesus himself said that he would take our heavy burdens and carry them for us. He will carry the yoke of my pain, not me. I am so grateful that Jesus is stronger than I and that I finally learned that it is OK to give him my burdens and accept his love, mercy and forgiveness.
So dear sister-runners, we will make mistakes in life — some crazy, some stupid, some drama-filled and others utterly ridiculous. The important thing to remember is that forgiveness is readily available. And when we go to God to ask for forgiveness, we must also look inside ourselves and grant ourselves the forgiveness that God so readily offers us.