In his excellent book Breathing Under Water, author Richard Rohr speaks of our need to ask God to help us overcome our shortcomings.
The asking often comes at the end of a hard realization of what we've become, and who we have hurt.
Far too many of us Christians think we can overcome our brokenness by sheer force of will, and then we will often grow angry at ourselves because of our inability to do so. Inevitably, our anger quickly turns to others who remind us of our own darkness.
Rohr writes, "If you go after [sinfulness] with an angry stick, you will soon be left with just an angry stick--and the same faults at a deeper level of disguise and denial."
I was listening to some music this morning, and one of the songs that came across my playlist was "Forgiven" by David Crowder. If you have never heard of David Crowder, you should look him up. And then you should buy some of his music---you'll thank me later.
The song this morning really resonated with me because of something I have been reading---more on that in a moment. The words of the first verse felt incredibly powerful:
I'm the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I've hidden in the garden
I've denied You with my very lips
God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!
Crowder is using a familiar bit of imagery here--placing himself symbolically at the crucifixion of Jesus, and in the Garden of Gethsemane, betraying him. The artist confesses that his pride, his sinfulness denies, and crucifies Jesus anew.
And just when we is overwhelmed by the weight of what he's done, he hears the voice of God speaking comfort to him: "Forgiven! Forgiven!"
The words of this song are beautiful. But I wonder how many of us truly hear those words when we are struggling with our own darkness.
May you hear God's words of forgiveness today and every day. May you stop chasing your shortcomings with angry sticks, and simply fall to your knees and let God's grace fall upon you like a song from above. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.