I grew playing baseball and watching baseball. I love it. Have you ever stopped to think how difficult baseball is? Not sure if you’re aware of not, but that baseball is thrown very hard by the pitcher and it’s a challenge to keep up with the speed. Oh, you mastered high velocity pitches? How about ones the move directions as they get closer to you. Also, when you’re hitting, there are 9 defenders ready to catch the ball if you put it in play. It’s 9 against 1. Those aren’t great odds. A batter is considered a good hitter if he has a .300 batting average. Simply, that is getting a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats. If you fail only 7 out of 10 times, then you’re great. It is a little depressing when you look at it that way.

No matter how long you might have followed Jesus, every Christ-follower has those guilt sessions. You know the ones where you get alone in your thoughts replaying all the mistakes made throughout the day and seeing how long before the guilt allows you to fall asleep.

The reality is, we fail. Could be lack of self-control, poor decision making, repeating a sin, over-reacting, etc. I have even gone to bed praying about my failure and fell asleep during the prayer only to wake up with more guilt. It can be a never-ending cycle.

But must it be a never-ending cycle? Sure, the failure will still be present, but must the side of shame be served with it?

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

These verses don’t imply the sin will vanish from your life. Sure, we make true efforts to resemble Jesus more and more each day, but only Jesus lived a life free of sin. These verses do give us confidence in God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.

Perhaps the extra quarantine time has shortened up your temper with your kids. You’ve found yourself a little more tense and your self-control has faded. Go boldly to the throne where God is gracious and you will receive grace and mercy. Let’s then flip that grace and mercy and extend that to those you need it in our lives.

The closer we draw near to Him, the more we’ll find what we need to escape the extended guilt sessions. Let the guilt be a lesson and a reminder of what to do better and not a identity in who we are.

Your failure is not final. It is not your identity. Rather, your identity is founded on the rich forgiveness, grace and mercy offered by our Heavenly Father.

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Central Christian Church | Mount Vernon, Illinois