You walk into a room of saved, filled, sanctified church-goers and you tense up. Why? Because your past, and even your present are less than squeaky clean and you know that the “holy” prey upon people like you. People who have engaged in premarital sex or had a baby out of wedlock; who have a somewhat potty mouth and listen to trap music on the morning commute; who may have made a few embellishments on Turbotax.com in hopes of a bigger refund. You are afraid that they will beat the Bible over your head, drown you in holy oil, and preach to you in fifty ways on how your sinful acts are leading you straight to hell. But little do you know is you’re just like them. The church is full of adulterers, gossipers, and white-lie tellers just like you. The difference is they hide their truth while your truth is unveiled for all to see. You can’t help but wear it as an outer garment because there is physical evidence of your mistakes that you cannot escape from.
I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32 NLT
We all want to be comfortable in our own skin, but until we learn to embrace our mistakes as we strive to make better decisions, then we never will be. You cannot run from yourself. Hiding in shame of the bad decisions you have made will only drive you deeper into sin. The expression of guilt after you have repented and received God’s forgiveness is yet another sin. Living in regret and shame of your past after you have asked God to forgive you is a declaration that you do not trust in God’s ability to keep His promises. He will cast your sin into the sea of forgetfulness to remember no more. But if you can’t move on from what you have done, you are doubting God’s love for you.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. I John 4:18 ESV
Those of us who have good parents know that no matter how much we mess up we can always come home. They are going to love us regardless because we are an extension of them. They see the good in us even when the world only sees unfavorable. God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us all the more. Not only does He see but He created the good in us. There is a divine assignment that motivated your placement on this earth. He knows what you are capable of so He is not going to let your missteps distract Him from the ability He’s placed inside of you.
God may love us, but how do we deal with the judgment of people you may ask. The first step is being confident in God’s work in you. Acknowledge that you have made mistakes but receive and accept God’s forgiveness. Next, do not walk in shame. Realize that those pointing the finger of judgment at you have made common mistakes that they are hiding. They may be in a different stage in the journey of purpose but they went through a process just like you are. There is not one person on this earth who hasn’t messed up.
Thirdly, strive for change. It’s one thing to ask for forgiveness but if we are not going to make an effort to improve our behavior, we are only prolonging the journey to greatness. Lastly, do not be afraid to share your story as you heal in order to aid others in healing. This is the last step because if you do not follow the former, you will not be ready for the backlash that can come with telling your testimony. There will still be those immature in Christ who will judge you. But once you are comfortable with where God has brought you from, knowing that He is taking you somewhere much better, you will be able to deal with the criticism of others. Their opinions will not outweigh the positive effect you are having on those who need to hear your story.
God is not interested in the self-proclaimed righteous. He loves them all the same but He is not seeking those “holier than thou.” God comes for people like you and me. We have messed up time and time again. We’ve been broken, mended, and broken again but we have experienced the power of God’s forgiveness. We have endured the reshaping and molding process. Now we are ready to let our light shine on the world.
-Renée Nicole Gibson Twitter: disclosednative IG: ms_disclosednative