Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

1 Forgiving our Failure– Part 1

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Psalms 32:1-11

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one    whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent,     my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked,     but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

In the film “The Mission,” Robert DeNiro plays a mercenary who has taken asylum in a local church after killing his brother in a fit of jealous rage. Eventually he heads to a mission post located above the waterfalls in the jungles of South American. But because of his past failure and his regret he chooses to tie himself to a several-hundred pound net of items and drag them around. Just like many of us we end up dragging around our sacks of sin trying to do penance for our past messes and mistakes. And like Robert DeNiro we struggle and slip under the weight of our sin only to end up being chocked by the rope that binds us to our burdens. Many of us are trying to do life tethered to out transgressions. Like Robert DeNiro we are still holding onto our sin and the shame that comes with it. We end up loaded down under a burden of guilt and shame over past failures. Are you swimming in a sea of shame, trying to survive but drowning under the weight of your guilt? What do we do when we realize that we have messed up? How do you find your footing when you keep falling into failure? Where do you turn when you have failed and hurt those closest to you? Do you grab some rope and hitch it up to your sack of sin and start dragging? Or, is there something better? Over the next few blogs we will be answering that question as we look at Psalm 32, but first let me remind you of the results of guilt.

  1. Guilt destroys

It corrodes our confidence making us feel insecure because we are constantly concerned that others are going to discover our past dirt, what we really like, or what we’ve really done. There is a story told about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes novels, who played a prank on five of the most prominent men in England. He sent an anonymous note to each one that simply said this, “All is found out, flee at once.” Within 24 hours all five men had left the country. Because of guilt many of us are living in fear instead of in freedom. We are wasting our time trying to cover up our sin instead of confessing it. Not only does guild destroy us from within but:

  1. Guilt damages our relationships.

When we live under the load of guilt with unconfessed sin we often end up responding to people in poor and painful ways. When we carry guilt around in our gut we often react with anger or impatience, sometimes we end up isolating ourselves, pulling back from those we love. Because we live in the garbage of our guilt we end up ruining our relationships only adding to our list of regrets. Instead of engaging in relationship we end up running from it. Not only does guilt destroy and damage but:

  1. Guilt damns

Because guilt keeps us stuck in the prison of our past, where we end up continuously replaying our sins over and over in our mind? We end up reliving our past instead and ruining our present. The truth is guilt cannot change the past just as worry cannot change the future. The only thing guilt can do is mire us down and make us miserable. You see guilt should cause us to turn to God, but while many of us wrestle with false guilt, too few of us take our real guilt seriously. Instead of confessing our sins, we try to cover them up or refuse to even recognize them as sin. Today in our attempt to ignore and reject sin we have renamed it. Today life is being defined by what we want to believe instead of being based on the bible and anyone that disagrees is not only politically incorrect but they are labeled a bigot. But believing and basing your life on the bible doesn’t make you a bigot. Instead the bible provides a foundation that can filter our feelings and help us to test what is true. The bible is not just our base its our bedrock. It calls us back to the truth that we are sinners who have missed the mark of God’s perfection. Because of sin our own death warrants have been written into our birth certificates. The truth is that we struggle with guilt because we are guilty. Ecclesiastes 7:20 makes this truth clear: “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” The Author of Psalm 32 is David, who although he was a great king and walked with God for much of his life also struggled with sin. David  committing adultery and murder but he speaks to us as one familiar not only with failure but also forgiveness. He reminds us that regardless of how rotten we are we can be fully restored and completely forgiven. There are seven psalms of forgiveness, Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143 and Psalm 32 is sometimes referred to as one of “Paul’s Psalms” because it is quoted extensively in Romans 4:6-8 to help establish that we are declared righteous not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Christ did on the Cross. You don’t have to let your life be guided by guilt you can confess your sin and be cleansed. Do you want to live in the failure or in the forgiveness? Why not come and confess your sins, admit your guilt to God and let Him forgive you.

 

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