One of the worst feelings we face as Christ followers is self-condemnation. We confessed our sin; embraced faith felt the joy of a renewed life in Him and then wham! Some old behavior that we thought was long gone shows itself in our lives again. What a jerk! Scumbag, pervert. Calling ourselves the worst names in the book we feel more broken and messed up than ever. We should be further along. Past that same old sin by now. Our accuser whispers and we dog pile on ourselves forgetting whose voice started the conversation. In self-condemnation we wonder, “how could I be so bad? Is my faith real? Is God really with me, in me, for me? How could he ever love me?”
This week’s passage touches on the struggle of self-condemnation. What can we do when it leads to swirling doubts about our relationship with God? We all have times that we doubt our salvation. Our sin even if invisible to others shows itself to us. Satan, our accuser, quickly magnifies it and keeps it ever in front of us. He throws it up in our face telling us we are fake and unworthy of God’s grace.
God wants to set us free from the destructive cycle of self- condemnation. Focus on defeating my sin, cleaning my sin, hiding my sin, understanding my sin will do nothing to help in comparison to trusting Jesus and letting Him forgive, clean & heal my sin.
Our Father gently brings perspective by reminding us of some core things. First He already knows the truth about us. He knows all we are and have done. His grace is stronger than our sin. His judgment trumps our own. There is nothing you or I could ever be part of that is beyond the reach of His grace.
Second. What God wants most of us is trust in Jesus. Notice, not holiness, goodness, or moral perfection. Those things come as a result of faith in Jesus in God’s time through the Spirit’s work. God dwells intimately with those who simply truly trust their lives to Jesus.
There is another bottom line truth He reveals that is the ultimate source of confidence in the face of our self-condemnation. But I’ll let you look for it on your own. Reflect on 1John 3:18-24 this weekend. We’ll tackle it together at worship on Sunday.