What do you do with your failure, sin and poor choices?
What do you do with those images that often suspend time, that play in slow motion like a car accident?
Your life flashes before you. Fear grips you and strikes at the core of your being. This is often what happens with our failures and sins.
We relive those moments of failure, poor choices, sin and humanity. The suspended time lapse we live in swirls with questions: Why did I do that? Why did I say that?
That suspension where we are trapped in the moment of our failure is haunting and paralyzing. It leads into a depression that shackles us to a hopeless despair.
We mask it, and we try to hide the skeletons of failure. But the reality is that the haunting never goes away by masking it; it only collects more clutter. Like in a junk drawer, it is harder to find those valuables you have placed inside.
When we don’t deal with our failures, they become so magnified and overwhelming that we shut down, or we dump out everything in order to find what we are looking for.
The truth is that we all fail, sin and have a skeleton or two we are trying to hide. The more we hide, the greater the haunting.
Dealing with our failure and sin requires us to recognize the mess, fall forward into God’s arms of grace like the prodigal son and let the Father lavish His love and acceptance on us.
We must learn to draw our identity not in our failures, sin or humanity, but in the destiny of His gaze and breath of life that comes when His Spirit speaks to the dry, dead bones of hopelessness and despair our failures and sin have produced.
We know that the wages of our sin, failures and poor choices is death. We experience death at some level every time we sin, and we are all faced with the reality that death is coming, and it comes for all.
What man sowed in his disobedience produced death, so death stalks us all. It is like a bloodhound tracking us down, like a criminal on the run.
We must learn to feast at the table of God’s grace instead of feasting on our failures, sin and poor choices.
We bring our failures to the foot of the cross, where a man who knew no failure, sin or poor choices embraced our punishment as though He deserved it.
Jesus, stripped naked, bloody and beaten beyond recognition, He cried out, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 NKJV).
Mercy triumphed over judgment that day. The bloodhounds of hell became confused and whimpered away. Though death came, His life had been given, not taken.
Jesus gave up His life so that the punishment of death was broken in His body, and life now flowed where He had been pierced.
Because Jesus was forsaken, no one else would ever have to be. His death became our death, and His life our life. No longer do I live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live, I live by faith in Him, not in myself.
So what do we do with our failures, sin and poor choices? We exchange our wages of sin for the currency of His grace and hope. That exchange does not come through prayer alone, but in a submitted life saturated in the awareness that every breath we breathe is a gift of grace.
This great exchange is for all who have been feeding on the junk food of this life and are left emaciated and starving for the nutrients of heaven. We are invited to come to the table of grace and feast freely. We cannot buy our way out. We cannot climb our way out or hide.
We can only come to His table and consume His body that was broken for us and drink from the life in His blood that was spilled out for us. Then the DNA of His life permeates through us—no longer the darkened imprisonment of failures, sin and poor choices.
In this great exchange, we are offered life, and life more abundantly. In short, we simply admit our need, and we consume His grace and don’t stop consuming it. We delight in it rather than focusing on our failures, sin and poor choices.
When we consume this grace, we, too, cry out, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” God’s gift of grace frees us to forgive ourselves and others—to grant relief from payment owed, and to cease feeling resentment against an offender.
We pardon those (including ourselves) who have harmed us. Grace exchanges our failures, sin and poor choices for hope and life as we consume grace and cultivate forgiveness.
What will you do with your haunting failures, sins and poor choices? You have two tables to feed from: your failures or His grace. Death or life. Let’s choose life and His grace.
From my book – Putting Jesus on Display with Love and Power.