One night I walked into Sawyer’s room at bedtime to find him crying bitterly. He had disobeyed earlier in the day, and even though he had already shed tears of remorse about it, his earlier sin was still haunting him at bedtime. It had been an inconsequential mistake, really. He had been a little too slow to respond when I asked him to do something. I had completely forgotten about the incident. Yet, here he was, still mourning over his bad decision when he should have been resting up for school the next day.
We’ve all been there. When we have asked for forgiveness and gotten it, when we have repented and tried to move forward, but seem to hear repeated taunting in our heart and head: I’m awful. God can’t use me. I am the last person who should be trying to tell people about Jesus. And, just like that, we carry the burden of our sins with us instead of dropping them at Jesus’ feet. We cling to what we have done and let it destroy us instead of clinging to what Christ has done and let it restore us.
Maybe for Christians it isn’t even the sin itself that is the real setback. Maybe it’s the way Satan will use that sin to tell us all kinds of lies that make us ineffective ministers of the gospel. That is his goal, after all: to usher as many people into Hell and darkness as possible. And there may be no greater avenue through which he works to make empowered Christians go limp than through the aftermath of a moral failure.
When we are faced with the devastating reality that we have messed up once again, we must remember that the heart is wicked and deceitful. The same lying heart that leads us into sin will try to convince us that we cannot recover from our failure. It will tell us that God couldn’t love us, that we are of no use to the kingdom. These are the tools that Satan uses to distort our view of the gospel and keep us from being a threat to his detestable schemes.
Don’t listen to that lying heart. Don’t listen to that sworn enemy. We belong to Jesus. He is our witness and our defense. Get up, dust yourself off, and thank Him that His mercies are new every day. Pray for strength. Rely on the Holy Spirit. And, move forward with a clearer view of how great His salvation really is.