When I was fresh in the faith, when only a baby in Christ, I was extremely zealous (to a fault in some respects). I had chosen to give myself fully to God and was ready to live a life in pursuit of who He has called me to be. What could go wrong? Without realizing it, in my mind I had created this picture perfect image of what my walk with God would look like. Even though I had read about the lives of many in the Bible who had had ups and down in their walks, I could never imagine straying at any point in the future. Then things changed.
I made a mistake. I somehow lost my way. I messed up. I won’t go into what actually happened, as that is a whole story and not the main point of this post – no juicy story for you today (hahaha!). I remember the moment I realized my sin and the overwhelming amount of shame and guilt that flooded my mind there and then. I had let myself down, and more than that, I had let God down too. I knew I had detached myself from Him, and felt too guilty to run back. It felt like a loss I couldn’t bounce back from. The question I had to myself was, “Now what?”
For a while I sat in that shame, which was the worst thing I could have done. Sitting in one’s guilt and/or shame only leads to more sin. The unfortunate truth is that I’ve found that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have fallen into this trap as well. Many have allowed the shame that followed poor decisions to define and limit them, forgetting that the blood of Jesus still has the capacity to wash away ALL our sins. Due to Christ’s sacrifice, we don’t have to experience condemnation (Romans 8:1). His grace covers our shortcomings. Much like how He showed grace to the woman in John 10 and told her to “go and sin no more” (John 10:10-11), He says the same to us when we turn to Him. No sin is too great for Him to cleanse us of, if we confess it to Him.
“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
After a while, the Lord used Psalm 51 to give me the best answer to the question “Now what?” The simple answer to that question is “Repent”. The beautiful thing about this passage is that it also answers the question “How?”
David first acknowledges his sin. Secondly, he asks for forgiveness. He then asks for renewal. These were the three parts of repentance, through and by the Holy Spirit, that helped me find solace in the Father once again.
Another thing that David did in the Psalm, was vow to use his transgressions to teach those engaged in sin of God’s way. This, too, became my prayer. That God may help me use my mishaps and wrongdoings to minister to others and to tell of His redeeming love.
If you’re in a place of shame or guilt or have strayed from the straight and narrow, I challenge you to go before the Father. He doesn’t love you any less. You’re still His beloved, for whom He gave His only Son.
Stay blessed and be a blessing.
Written by Cwayita Madala on behalf of the AMEN Missions Team