It has been that kind of a day. I had my own trip and fall this morning, albeit a less literal one than poor Vinny’s.
I have no one to blame but myself. For a moment, I ignored the whisper of the Holy Spirit and put all my focus on me. What followed? Bitter words that sparked and flew, tainting the hours with their acrid smoke and scars. Even stamped out, these words still leave the soot of regret. There is still pain from the heat and shame of the too-quick surrender to that fleshly desire to prove I was right.
I wasn’t right (and I knew it!)…but instead of humbly admitting my mistakes, my pride went raging into battle…proving nothing but the truth of James’ declaration that the tongue is a ‘restless evil, full of deadly poison.’
And so I failed to show grace and I neglected the cause of mercy…and found myself in desperate need of both.
Shame tries to send us into hiding (remember that first couple diving for the first bushes after their disobedience?) and so I really wanted to grab the bag of powdered donuts off the shelf, put on comfy pjs, and put all of my attention into an Iron Chef marathon. After all the hope I had for this week, all the good intentions…how could I slip up so easily?
Yes. Hiding sounded great.
But then…a still small voice reminded me of words I typed only a few days ago…”But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…“
I looked around my house, at my kiddos, at the bag of donuts. Succumbing to a day of wallowing in regret and prideful self-pity would not get me out of this mess. It would only compound the problem in my heart, keeping the focus all on me.
I needed to offer a good, old-fashioned ‘I’m sorry’ to my Father and to the one I’d hurt with my outburst. And then I needed to ask Him to redirect my heart, my feet, and my day.
So I looked away from myself and up to Him. Knocked off my feet, this time in sorrow and humble crying out for help…and, out of His great (unfathomable!) love, He heard me.
“God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered; He’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love to those who fear Him. And as far as sunrise is …
…from sunset, He has separated us from our sins.”~Psalm 103:8-12 (MSG)
The truth is that every single on of us will have a falling-flat-on-our-face day. Because we have not yet reached the end of our journey, when this battle with sin is forever done. We can have victory in the here and the now, through the help of the Holy Spirit, but we will not find perfection in this life-time…so what relief and gratefulness in knowing that the righteousness of my Savior covers me! What undeserved blessing to know that He is faithful…even when I am not.
“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies…”~Psalm 36:5
So if your step wasn’t so steady today, please know that you are not alone and that your new day can begin now. He is faithful to forgive and to put our feet back on His path…so don’t hide and don’t run anywhere except into His presence and into His Word. When we fall and reach out to Him, He will pick us up again.
That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.
The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.