“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
I’m a person who can always find something to feel guilty about. I often use unkind words towards my kids and husband, I spend more money than I should on a new pair of shoes, I don’t read my Bible enough, I look down on others who make different lifestyle choices than I do, I don’t use my time wisely, I eat way too many sweets. I could make an “I feel guilty about. . .” list that fills up an entire book!
God doesn’t want me to live my life making this list. He longs for me to know the freedom and grace that come when I belong to him. But what can I do with my guilt?
The reality is that I am going to fail. My life will never look perfect, no matter how hard I try or how strong my convictions are. Guilt is real and I can choose from a few different ways to deal with the shame and regret that creep into my mind.
First option: I can try really hard to do everything right, hoping that the good I do will outweigh the bad, crossing my fingers that my attempts at being moral and righteous will tip the scales in my favor.
Second option: I can compare myself to others around me. There’s always someone who is worse than me (but then again there’s always someone better as well).
Third option: I can ignore the guilt that I feel. When I feel that tinge of shame come in, I can stuff it and deny my failures, numbing myself to the pain.
None of these options feel very freeing, do they?
There is another option. . . one that is best. . . one that provides true deliverance from the weight of our failures. Look at the verse above. . . . It says to “Come now” and “reason” with the Lord. Ahhh. . . at last a safe place where I can pour everything out.
He invites me to an open and honest conversation. . . to name the sin and hurt and shame that burden me. A place where I can fully be myself. I don’t have to hide my thoughts, feelings, or failures. I can tell him everything. And when I do, look what he offers. . . . Forgiveness!
He removes my sin. He washes white the reddest stains I have. Jesus takes all my mess and gives me clean clothes to wear. He gives me his perfectly white robes of righteousness. Robes that are free of guilt and shame, and full of freedom and grace.