Lately as I’ve read through Scripture, I’ve started writing down things that stand out to me. It seems like something about that simple act of copying something down makes me think a little bit more about each and every word in the sentence, which is good. I’m a slow learner.
A few days ago, these words from 1 John 1:8-9 struck me:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Man, do I love the idea that I get a clean slate, right?
Around the Collie house most mornings, Hero Hubs and I are up and dressed and ready to start the day, and the little Collies mosey into our bedroom with messy hair and strong breath and sleepy eyes. I close my Bible and hug and cuddle and those few moments are often some of the sweetest and most lovely of the day. HH and I talked about it recently and he commented, “I just love that every morning is a fresh start and we get to put the day that passed behind us.”
That fresh start really is an amazing feeling. No one has scratched anyone, or taken anyone’s toy, or chased anyone with a spider. The day spreads before us with great possibility.
And I think that fresh and new sparkly clean feeling is what we’re being offered in those words from 1 John.
A couple days after I wrote those words down, I totally messed up. I took offense at a situation I didn’t get to be in control of — pretty much because I didn’t get to have the say-so I thought I should have. In retrospect things were actually going the way they had been previously discussed to go, but I just didn’t like it at the time and was in a bit of a ‘huff.’
After a good post mortem examination on the whole thing, I recognized how I’d chosen to take offense for not getting my way. In the midst of the relational frustrations I caused, I had to turn and turn again to Jesus and be reminded of two things:
One, see those verses above again and remember: If we confess, He forgives. If we think we’re not sinners, we’re totally deceived. We are sinners. We ARE going to mess up. Rather than try to point fingers and blame anyone else, let’s just own it, right? Let’s own our mistakes. Let’s apologize for letting selfishness rather than love and patience and kindness and gentleness and goodness take the reins of our hearts.
We can apologize to God and know that we are forgiven. Know. But what about people?
Reminder number two, in the midst of it all, was found in these verses I love:
You will keep him in perfect peace
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
Here’s the whisper I hear in all this: First, God forgives. That fresh-first-thing-in-the-morning start is available to you and me. It’s a free gift with purchase… Jesus already made that purchase for you, and you get the gift.
Second, even when we’re struggling with earthly relationships, with our own shortcomings and failings, and with the repercussions of the offenses we’ve caused to our fellow man, there is still a deep and abiding peace available.
Should we apologize and try to make things right? Absolutely.
But the peace available to us is available regardless of how things are going in your earthly relationships. Did you apologize and find the other person was still ticked? That’s okay.
Peace is still yours for the taking. It comes from keeping your heart centered around knowing, knowing, knowing and believing: God is good. He forgives me. He will give me the strength to trust Him even through the rockiest places in every relationship, the hardest seasons of the soul — even the ones where I’ve messed up and brought the trouble on myself.
Yes, it’s true. We’re dummies sometimes. We’re selfish sometimes. We sin and we fail and we fall short.
Take a deep breath. Confess. Know that a kind and faithful God is ready to forgive you. Put Him back at the center. Ask for His help moving forward. Give thanks that He’s on the throne… and we don’t have to be!
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