Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reconciling with our pasts

A Time of Reconciliation. (081). by ~ Buffalonian ~

Many of the most common sins that we commit are sins against ourselves, as much as they are sins against others. Sexual sin, drug and alcohol abuse, viewing pornography, and overeating all seem to be directed primarily against ourselves, although they hurt others as well. How do we forgive ourselves for falling short of our own expectations? How do we rid ourselves of the shame we feel for things that we've done and now regret? We struggle with self-forgiveness because we are not yet fully accepting responsibility for what we've done. We're still making excuses for ourselves. We need to admit that both the good that we've done and the wrong that we've done are part of our lives. They both show us part of who we are. Just as there is much good in each of us, there is also some bad. This is true of all of us, and we can't do anything about it until we recognize it. If we had to be perfect to be loveable, this would just be depressing, but we don't. God's perfection means that he loves us regardless. Just as a loving person is one who loves instead of judging, so God in his love, loves us. He knows everything that we have ever done, or thought, or felt, and he still loves us completely. It is good to be honest about our pasts and to be grateful for God's unconditional love. There is great peace in that place. Besides, not a day goes by that I don't do, think, or say something that I need God's forgiveness for. Just for starters, on any given day I wilI worry about this and that, or I'll complain about how things are going, displaying quite openly my lack of confidence in God's ability to manage his affairs. And as for loving other people all of the time, well . . . "all of the time" is a pretty high standard. So I am always in need of God's mercy and will be until I die (and then too, especially then). When I remember that I have no hope without God's love for me, then my past sins become reminders to me of how much God loves me, of how much he has already forgiven. My past sins become evidence of his mercy and forgiveness. They reassure me of how much he loves me. Surely, God and I will get through this day. Just look at what we've come through, and he hasn't abandoned me yet. On the contrary, he has drawn me closer to himself. He loved me when I was completely undeserving, and he continues to love me now when I'm only mostly undeserving. He doesn't love me because of what I do but because of who he is. It isn't what I think of me that matters. It's what God thinks. And he loves me, regardless of my many failings. Because God loves me as I really am, I can love myself as I really am.

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