The Stain of Sin

I have been sinning since the beginning of my time. I still sin. It is a part of my human condition but I have been working on my stuff. I can say “I am sorry”. I can ask for forgiveness. I can work on not sinning, and yet, I still sin. I know God forgives me for the large and small sins and wipes it clean away but, in this world, the stain of sin can remain, for a lifetime.

And that can be a lifetime of me being needled by satan. He loves to try to condemn, particularly those who have been forgiven. The devil wants to wrestle away my peace that passes all human understanding and convince me that I am stained and unusable, that His healing work can’t possibly work through this mess.

This mess of me.

But God can and He does. He can do it for you too! Lord, let me focus on Your work of healing. Let me trust You to work on the stains of my sin. I know you see me through the beauty and perfection of Jesus, but sometimes the world can see my stains and I feel condemned all over again!

Thank you for your gift of Jesus and His sacrifice on my behalf! Amen.

From God the Father, virgin-born

From God the Father, virgin-born
To us the only Son came down;
By death the font to consecrate,
The faithful to regenerate.

Beginning from His home on high,
In human flesh He came to die;
Creation by His death restored,
And shed new joys of life abroad.

Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
The gift of healing on Your wing;
To eve’ry dull and clouded sense
The clearness of Your light dispense.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
The gloom of darkness chase away;
Your work of healing, Lord, begin,
And take away the stain of sin.

Lord, once You came to earth’s domain
And, we believe, shall come again;
Be with us on the battlefield,
From ev’ry harm Your people shield.

To You, O Lord, all glory be
For this Your blest epiphany;
To God, whom all His hosts adore,
And Holy Spirit evermore.

Translated by John Mason Neale, 1818-66

Control

Can we ever get all of it under control? I don’t think it is possible. I don’t think it is meant to be possible. While this might be a disappointing piece of news for you, it is a relief to me!!!

Glance over this list…surely there is something out of your control here:

Budget, Children, Paperwork, Relationships, Health, Laundry, Kitchen Cupboards, Refrigerator, Food Shopping and Meal Planning, Chores,  Vehicle Maintenance, Home Maintenance

Really? shall I continue?

Family Schedules, Education, Smoking, Drinking, Recreational Drug Use, Weight, Eating, Exercise, Thought Life, Spiritual Life, Emotional Life, Addictive Behaviors, Marriage

I know there is more… 

What is our obsession with control? Sometimes our personal lack of control is seen in our need to control others. Sometimes we are just weighed down by the expectations of others and so we work hard to “earn” someone’s favor by being “in control”. There are things that are simply out of our control and there are things we certainly can work on. If I am always angry about how things are going, I am likely feeling out of control and not sure where to put that frustration and so it comes out as anger. It’s somewhat understanding because feeling like everything is out of control is a very frustrating feeling!

Here is my confession ~ At one time or another I have tried to get all of those things listed above under my control. Guess what? It hasn’t worked yet. I can make progress in some areas but I just can’t seem to conquer everything on that list and certainly not at the same time. I am actually not sure I have conquered anything of that list. All I will say is that sometimes I make progress.

I am not sure why I expect myself to have everything under control. I guess because lots of people look like they have it under control but they I suspect they don’t. It’s most likely a mirage. It just appears to be the case. It is probably what people want me to think is true.

Me? I am a mess some days. Maybe most days. And when I acknowledge that life is messy and I am messy and I ask God to work through my circumstances for something bigger than myself (like Him) He is able to take my mess and makes a message out of it. I hope it is a message of grace because that is what I need to hear and so I am betting others need to hear it too.

Let’s be real and admit where we have a struggle, an unrealistic expectation, or a mess. Trying to look like we have everything under control isn’t healthy for others and it isn’t healthy for us either. While everyone does not need to know everything, confessing our lack of control to those we rub shoulders with most frequently is being real. I think when we are real with others it invites them to be real with us. And that is where we start to accept who we are instead of always striving to be someone we aren’t.

Lord, within my mess I need to see Your message. Help me to bring all of it to You and accept Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Amen.