My Depravity and Christ’s Grace (Embracing, Part 3)

I signed someone’s name on a form and then, when confronted, lied about it at first.

I read that and laugh because it’s so stupid. I wish I could say I was kidding. But alas, I can’t. I could go on and on about how it wasn’t maliciously intentioned or about how I was overwhelmed or a thousand of other excuses, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I still screwed up big time. It’s totally okay if you’re judging me, I did too.

For two weeks I walked around embarrassed, ashamed and broken. People were upset with me (very rightfully so) and I was so upset with myself. How had I gotten here? How had I screwed up so badly? 

I was such a terrible witness for Christ. But quietly, eventually, God reminded me that He is much bigger than my shortcomings and failures, and that He could still use them for His glory if I let Him. So here’s me letting Him…

First off, I don’t want to minimize what I did at all. It was stupid. It was foolish. It was wrong. It was sin. Plain and simple. I’d like to wiggle around it, I’d like to explain excuses and motives and circumstances, but I won’t. I do not, in anyway, wish to take away from the mistake I made and please understand that. I was totally, completely, 100% wrong.

With that said, once convicted of what I’d done, I sought to make amends as best I could like God commands. 1 John 1:9 tells us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

So I confessed my sin. I told the people involved, and I also told a close friend and sister in Christ. I then apologized repeatedly and genuinely…I was incredibly sorry; sorry for the mess I made, sorry for the people I let down and sorry for the hurt I caused. Then I talked to Jesus about it and asked Him to forgive me. In my head I knew He did, but in my heart I didn’t. I knew in my head that He loved me still, but in my heart I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel at peace. I didn’t even feel okay. I didn’t feel like I could talk to Jesus. I felt guilty.

Then the Lord showed me that I had forgotten who I was. I walked around in complete shame because I was constantly worried about what other people might think if they found out. I was worried how the people involved now viewed me. I wanted them to think of me as good…but, what I forgot is that I’m not good. I screw up countless times every single day. This wasn’t the first time and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. Daily, I see the same struggle Paul had play out in my life: 

For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:15-20)

Being a good witness for Christ does not mean being a perfect person. On the contrary, it means displaying how Jesus worked in my life to save me and how the Holy Spirit is at work in my life to sanctify me. 

I didn’t want to lie; I didn’t want to hurt people and I didn’t want to sin. But regardless of that, I still did.  If I pretend to be perfect, if I think of myself as perfect or if other people think of me as perfect, then the Gospel loses its beauty. If I’m perfect I don’t need a Savior, and Jesus Christ and the cross have no meaning in my life. That is not a message I ever wish to convey. The truth is, I so desperately need Jesus. I need Him to spend eternity with my Father. I need Him to be patient and king and loving. Apart from Him there is nothing good in me and anything good in me comes from Him. I am not perfect, but that is what makes Jesus’ death so wonderful. When I see myself in this proper light – broken, sinful and messed up – I am able to view Jesus in the proper light. The reality is that Jesus knows exactly who I am; He knows all of the wrong things I have, and will, say, do and think. Despite this, He still loves me wholly and completely. He still left Heaven and Earth, Glory and Perfection, to dwell among men for several decades, to suffer an agonizing and torturous death, all so that my sin, my shortcomings and my mistakes would not cause me to be eternally separated from the Father.  Someone might die for an incredibly good person, but no one wants to die for a bad person (Romans 5:7). However, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:8) When I deserved it the least Jesus died for me; that is beautiful. Because of my faith in Christ, while I was viewing myself in light of my sin, God views me in light of His Son. When He looks at me He doesn’t see Kaitlin; the idiotic girl who foolishly forged someone’s signature and then lied about it. 

When God looks at me, He sees Jesus: His perfect, Holy and beloved Son.

What I discovered is that I have a terrible tendency to be excessively concerned with having a good reputation, and when I do something that stains it and people find out, it has the power to overwhelm and control me if my identity is found in that. But as a believer, I have so much hope; my identity is found in Christ and He is perfect and good. I am offered freedom from shame and guilt.

So here I am, sorry and convicted for what I did, but no longer overwhelmed with shame. 
Facebook friends, twitter followers and any random person that might stumble across this, I want to tell you how terribly I messed up, not to justify sin but to highlight God’s grace.

In my weakness Christ’s power is magnified (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

My sin only has control over me if I leave it in the dark and try to hide it from others. God’s love and work on the cross is diminished in my own life if I try to appear to have it all together. 

But as a believer, God’s grace covers me. It is sufficient. 

At the foot of the cross there is no darkness for shame to hide in. 

Believe me, I would take back what I did in a heartbeat. But I cannot. Therefore, moving forward, I have two choices: I either falsely portray my character and eulogize myself, or I allow you to see my faults and shortcomings, my weaknesses, and in doing so, point you toward the grace, power and love of God. I truly hope I have done the latter.

I leave you with a thought from Charles Spurgeon: “My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, HE is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. Hallelujah!” (Morning and Evening)

Because of Christ’s power, love and grace, I embrace my weaknesses.


Perhaps I Have the Wrong Cross

The gospel is not about what you do and it’s not about what I do.

This week especially, I’ve felt the weight of my sin.
It can be crippling and deafening.
It makes you hate yourself and hate the world.
It can make you feel guilty and shameful and not right with God.
Or at least that’s what it does to me.
Some days it is really hard to honor God and display his glory.
I want to. Oh how desperately I want to.
But before I know it I’m not.
I’m not even doing things I want to, only to look back later and realize it was mistake.
Instead, I do exactly what I don’t want to do.
To use Paul’s words,
“I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).
Then I get caught in this cycle;
Maybe if I spend more time in the Word, or pray more, or serve more or think more…
if only I could do more then I could be more.
But it’s all a lie. It is one big, fat, ugly, hideous, disgusting lie that satan wants us to believe.
Because ultimately, if it’s about what I do – even the bad things I do – then it’s not about Jesus and what He’s done.

The Gospel is not about what you do and it’s not about what I do. The Gospel is about what Jesus did on the cross.

He left Heaven, Glory and Perfection; not because He had.
Jesus did not die because I sin. I do, oh how I do, but that’s not the reason for his death.
If that were the case, sin would have power over Him.
He exchanged everything for nothing, holiness for lowliness.
He left it all because He loves us so.
He loved us.
He loved us.
At the cross hate meets Love, evil meets Perfection and sin meets Grace.
At the cross death meets Life. The grave meets defeat.

If I can approach the cross, overwhelmed by my sin and how bad I am, then perhaps I have the wrong cross.
And so with that in mind, I approach the cross and allow Christ’s grace to completely and totally wreck me. His love overwhelms me. He overwhelms me.

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

The Gospel is not about what we do, it’s about what He did.

Happy Easter friends, may we boast in Him.