Have you ever had a “spiritual spanking”? Now granted… I just made that phrase up… but seriously. Have you had a time when Scripture just kicks (or spanks) the nonsense right out of you!
As of this New Year, when the kids and I are on the way to school each morning, I read them the kids version of “Jesus Calling”. And when I say that I read it “on the way”. I literally mean that I read a few sentences at each stoplight! I call it creative. You may call it crazy.
This morning’s devotional included something about the fact that nothing can separate us from God’s love. So I asked my boys (ages 6 & 8)… “Have you ever felt unloved by God?”
My sweet, gentle, always eager to help 8 year old quickly responded
“You and dad make me feel unloved by God when you yell at me!”
As I prepared my three point sermon as a part of my thorough defense to his blatant accusation… I paused. Of all the things I could have said, I knew at that moment the best thing to do was pray.
Pray for forgiveness.
To confess my sins to the LORD out loud in the presence of my kids and to confess to the Lord that I needed Him to change my heart. (side note: sin is ALWAYS an offense against God first)
As soon as I said “Amen” it was time for the kids to get out of the car and before I knew it… they were off to another day of school. Backpacks on, door slammed, no goodbye, no “I love you mom”.
I felt a tsunami of guilt rise up in my soul. The continual waves of shame and condemnation came crashing down on the shores of my broken, humbled, fragile heart.
When I arrived home, I did the only thing I could do to keep from “loosing it”. (I have a gift for being dramatic). I put the baby down for an early nap so I could spend some time asking the Lord to bring light and wisdom to how I was “feeling.” I’ve learned enough to know that feelings are merely indicators… not always TRUTH!
My Bible was already open to Romans 8… so I began to read.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve read these words many times before but today they had a whole new meaning. I know that I am IN CHRIST but why do I still “feel” so bad for my sin? I did some looking into what “no condemnation” means and this is what I found:
Here in Romans, Paul is explaining that there is “no condemnation” for the Christian because God has condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son (8:3) to pay the penalty for sin through his death on the cross. The following verses in Romans 8 then show that indwelling sin is overcome through the power of the indwelling Spirit. In fact Paul refers to the Spirit 10 times in the next 7 verses!
Bottom line… living in a family means that we learn to accept one another (faults, failures, and victories) and forgive one another. Sin is never ok. In fact… sin is so serious that it requires death. Thankfully Jesus already paid the price for our sin and all I need to do is confess that I am a sinner and accept the free gift of salvation! I have as much of a role in salvation as I did in being born… NOTHING!!! I do NOTHING to earn it. I just receive it! And with the forgiveness of sins, and security of an eternity with Jesus, I also receive the gift of His Holy Spirit!
One of the greatest gifts we have as parents is the ability to model repentance and forgiveness to our children and to others we influence.
Thank You Jesus that because of the cross, I don’t have to carry shame or guilt. Thank You that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be my Helper because apart from You… I can do nothing!