Feb 3, 2010

Oh, Mercy!

"A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace"
. . .from "Inside Out" by Hillsong United

As I stepped out of my quiet time this morning, I stepped right into a puddle of sin. Granted, it was a small puddle, but a puddle nonetheless. My first reaction was to berate myself for not avoiding it; I should know better, after all. But as I confessed it to Jesus, in His sweet way He reminded me of the lyrics above. I have failed thousands of times and will continue to stumble through this journey with Christ; it's a muddy, sloppy road. However, His mercy remains. I can never err so much that He throws up His hands and says, "Well, that was the last straw. I'm done with her. Be gone, Misti Dawn Gil!" Yes, my name is a weather forecast. . .focus.

My problem is I keep thinking God is like everyone around me, sizing me up according to what I do, how I perform. But, thankfully, He operates in a blessedly different manner.

". . .the LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7b

When I raise my voice with Cooper, God sees the wounded place from which that yelling comes. When I isolate myself, He sees that scared little girl inside of me afraid of getting hurt again. When He sees you reach for that drink, or food, or whatever it may be that you use to anesthetize, He sees your hurt and fear too. And His heart breaks.

He's not so much watching our actions and waiting to pounce as much as He's walking beside us catching us when we trip up. He is, well, tender. I love that description. . .tender. It just speaks peace deep down into my soul. And nowhere in scripture does he display this quality more, in my opinion, than in His encounter with the adulterous woman. (Click on that link and give it a quick read if you're not familiar with it.)

I am that woman. Am I sleeping with another man? No. But I bed with other sins like Anger, Isolation, and Performance way more often than I would like to fess up to. And I am so thankful that when I'm snatched up by my old sins again, Jesus repeats those words He used so long ago.

"Well, I do not condemn you either; all I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you." John 8:11 The Voice

Sweet Jesus. So full of compassion. There is no condemnation. No Tsk-Tsking. There is a loving hand reaching out to encourage us away from the sin that imprisons us and toward the life that frees us. Ladies, it's not about what you do. Our God is much deeper than that. He sees your heart and He longs to heal it. Let's not get so focused on our behaviors that we don't see the heart behind the issue. We must dive in and ask what is behind it all, what is causing us to circle back to that sin. Let's ask God, like David, to go deeper, to heal us from the inside out so that our sin no longer entangles us.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm. 139:23-24

Jesus, we get so down on ourselves when we fail. We want so badly to be everything we think You want. But what you want is our heart, fully surrendered, resting in your sufficiency, not our ability. So, as much as we would like a nice, succinct list of behaviors to follow, we forfeit that desire. We now give you our hearts. Transform them and, in the process, us. We love you, amen.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Misti, for reminding me, yet again, of God's mercy and grace and love He has for ME. I think it's easy to forget exactly how loving the Father is to His children...even easier to forget His love towards me because I am His child.
I love ya - and, again, thank you!
- A