It’s at times like this that I’m reminded that I’m not perfect; that I slip up from time to time. How easy is it to be caught unawares? Perhaps the issue is also the fact that being Christian means I’m held up to a much higher standard of attitude and behaviour than the majority of my counterparts. Being what I call a ‘secularian’ now, and reluctantly so, I can’t help be around lots of people who are scantly spiritual; there’s a great rarity of humility in these circles, as people of undisciplined and even gross natures are brought into contact with the more refined. The lowest common denominator effect seems to generally play out, unfortunately.
Then I think about the reason God has me in secular life. There is a purpose in it even if I occasionally forget it and organise my own pity party in the midst of a slightly different type of momentary lapse of reason. There might just be a good reason I’m thrust into this worldly environment. I could be there to speak justice, righteousness and fairness into my working environment; to be salt and light as Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
The psalms are a great place for one feeling guilty. I immediately think of king David and Psalms 51 and 32 where he was crestfallen and bereft of soul in the former, yet how great an encouragement for the truly penitent is found in the latter. Then there is also Psalm 19:12-13 and 90:8 where even the hidden sins lie open and captive to our all-knowing God. Yet, these sins of restraint and lack of prudence highlight not hidden things but the cost to God’s glory in failing to grasp the opportunities.
Now, it must be said, it’s truly a blessing to know this form of guilt as I’ve mentioned above as it’s self-regulatory and surely part of the Holy Spirit’s refining role in and through our characters. And we can go to a passage like Philippians 3:13-14 where Paul admits he hadn’t yet taken hold of the prize Christ had for him. When he wrote the letter he had to be satisfied with ‘forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.’ James too talks about the person who ‘perseveres under trial.’ In 1:12 this person, though imperfect, receives the crown of life.
The truth is we can get altogether too despondent; we feel hopeless when we’ve blown it yet again; the only hope we have is to hold onto the vision we have of an all-forgiving God, who forgives absolutely. Isn’t it truly amazing to think that nothing we can do can separate us from God? Nothing we can do is that bad. He wants us to be resilient, bouncing back after atoning for these errors. We must keep looking forward by doing all we can to repair any damage, and then simply “keep moving forward” in the words of the late Walt Disney.
Copyright © 2008, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.