The other day, I messed up. I messed up big.
I lost my cool and yelled at my daughter, Grace. I’m not proud of it, but I did. And so after she calmed down after crying (yes, I made her cry…), I had to apologize to her. Though it’s not ideal, I want her to also see that I’m still in process and that I need the grace of God every day. So, though it was my mistake, I saw this as a teachable moment.
And, while I was actually attempting to demonstrate humility to her, I was also feeling pretty lousy about my recent outburst – feeling like I didn’t really deserve the opportunity to be her father. I had begun to believe the deceptive voice of shame that told me because I had done something bad, I, therefore, must be unworthy of love. So, experiencing the complicated mess of those emotions, I got down on my knees so I could be at eye level with her, and I apologized to her. But I was not prepared for what happened next…
Almost without noticing my humbled posture, she glanced up at me and just said, “Daddy, get up.”
In the middle of my shame-experience, mixed with humbled-obedience, Grace told me to get up. Grace didn’t push me away. Grace didn’t ignore me. Grace didn’t even hold me outburst against me. It was almost like she had already forgiven – and effortlessly so.
I still think back to that moment with some regularity. I think back to it often because my Grace reminds me so much of God’s grace. Without excusing the wrong I’ve done, He does not see me as unworthy. And though I often feel so low – as a result of the many ways I’ve fallen short in this life – He is quick to tell me, “Son, get up. It’s already been forgiven. The guilt is gone. The shame is a lie. You are worthy. Get up.”
And this got me wondering: why is it so hard for so many people to truly experience God’s love?
Perhaps for many of us, it is inconceivable that we are worthy of being loved like that. We are holding onto so many hurts within us that we think ourselves unlovable. We think that before we can be loved we need to be better people, cleaned up before we can be worthy. In fact, I am convinced that the enemy will often try to convince us – through the lying tongue of shame – to voluntarily forfeit the confidence, authority, and worth that has been bestowed upon us by God himself.
But the truth is this: God loves us as we really are – whether we like it or not. And we don’t have to fix our shortcomings or our mistakes in order to make this happen. He loves us just as we are. In his book Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning says “Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold His love because there is evil in us… Because of how we feel about ourselves, it’s sometimes difficult to believe this… We cannot accept love from another human being when we do not love ourselves, much less accept that God could possibly love us.”
How, then, can we move towards healing when our emotions are so deeply seeded? For a start, instead of looking at the grace of God as a Plan-B, or merely a response to our sin, we need to view God’s grace biblically and accurately. Right from the beginning, the love of the Father is unchanged toward us. No matter what we do, no matter what we hold against ourselves, we are loved. That is the truth we need to accept and start with. That is the truth that is the basis for any healing within ourselves. We all sin against God, but He does not stop loving us for even a second because of it.
So please hear the voice of the eternally gracious Father to you: “_____________ , get up.”
Last year a student of mine sent me a Snapchat message saying how she would love it if I could write a devotional book because she was feeling like she needed to get back on track with God. That conversation inspired a new devotional.
My hope and prayer for you, if you read through my new book Walking With God, is that you can begin to build habits into your faith that will put you on a path to walk with God. No one can walk with God in a hurry, but if you commit to this journey, there are more blessings in your future than you could possibly know.
You will find chapters on…
- Gospel motivation.
- Purpose in life.
- What it means to be part of God’s family.
- How to function with other believers.
- The glory of God displayed in us.
- Hearing from God.
- Communicating with God.
- Spiritual gifts and calling.
- Simple faith.
Join me on the journey of discovering purpose, calling, and more. You can pick up your copy of Walking With God in paperback or Kindle ebook.