Yesterday, I lost my temper with my son, Philip.
After that brief moment where I lost all sense of calm and cool and acted like the child to whom I was directing my frustration, I felt very, very low. I was ashamed. Sad. Broken. Broken-hearted. Upset with myself. I couldn’t lift my head out of my hands to face the shame that I felt and the depth of my sin.
This wasn’t the first time I had been to that place of deep sorrow over my sin, and sadly probably not the last. It took recitation of Scripture, tearful praying to God for forgiveness, and apologizing to Philip before I was able to find the strength to leave that place.
Have you been to that place as well? To the place where you are broken over your sin? To the place where you feel so ashamed of your sin you don’t know how to face God, others or yourself? To the place that David described in Psalm 32 where because of his sin God’s hand was heavy upon him? “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity.” (Ps. 32:4-5)
It is in these moments of realization of sin and confession that God so graciously meets us to offer forgiveness. Yet, most of us still struggle to accept God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is clouded often times by misunderstandings and lies that Satan would have us to believe. The portrait of God as seen in Scripture is many times in conflict with the portrait that we have of God in our minds, and it often comes to a head when we are in that place of deep shame and remorse over sin. (“I know Scripture says that God offers forgiveness to the repentant but [fill in the blank].”)
This is where I hope Grace for the Sinner series will be a blessing. In this new series, I want to explore Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness and grace. These will be (or at least should be) short devotionals/reflections that I hope will bring you in deeper conversation with and understanding of God and the gifts of grace and forgiveness that He makes available to the repentant.
In this series I hope you will find grace, whether you find yourself as the impatient parent, the self-centered spouse, the disrespectful child, the unforgiving friend, the wannabe perfectionist, the over-controlling individual, the gossiper or [fill in the blank]. Here I also hope you will be reminded of and will find a perfect God who loves and redeems imperfect people.
I was first introduced to the song below at our church in England, and I immediately took to the lyrics. The message of the song is to come as you are — a sinner — to Jesus and discover the love and grace he has to offer. “Come, all you vagabonds, come all you don’t-belongs, winners and losers, come people like me.” Jesus offers grace to the sinner.
Come all you vagabonds, come all you don’t-belongs
winners and losers, come people like me;
come all you travelers, tired from the journey
wait a while, stay a while, welcomed you’ll be.
Come all you questioners, looking for answers
and searching for reason and sense in it all;
come all you fallen, and come all you broken,
find strength for your body and food for your soul.
Come, those who worry about houses and money
and all those who don’t have a care in the world,
from every station and orientation
the helpless, the hopeless, the young and the old.
Come all believers, and dreamers, and schemers,
and come all you restless and searching for home;
movers and shakers, and givers and takers,
the happy, the sad, the lost and alone.
Come self-sufficient with wearied ambition
and come those who feel at the end of the road;
fiery debaters, and religion haters,
accusers, abusers, the hurt and ignored.
Chorus: Come to the feast, there is room at the table!
Come, let us meet in this place
with the king of all kindness who welcomes us in
with the wonder of love and the power of grace,
the wonder of love and the power of grace.