READ: LAMENTATIONS 3:19-26; JOHN 5:24; ROMANS 7:14–8:1
A vivid sunset reached over the aqua waters of my home on Zakynthos Island. I slid my hand down my pteranodon’s sleek, yet powerful neck as he lifted his wings, carrying me higher into the color-splashed sky.
Apostolos had been my constant companion since the night he landed next to me on the beach when I was a child. I was curled up next to the giant rock that resembled a resting brachiosaurus. Sweet Apostolos had seen me weeping, laid his crested head on my lap, and stayed with me until my tears subsided.
Reminiscing ceased as Apostolos landed lightly on the shores of the white-sand beach. The limestone caves glinted gold in the light of the setting sun. I settled on the sand with a sigh as Apostolos stretched his magnificent wings beside me. Even in this beautiful place, my mind wandered to memories of my failures.
“I keep messing up, Olo. I know what I should do because I have the Book of Life, but I don’t always follow it. Again, I find myself wishing I could turn back time and make the right choice.” Apostolos blinked sympathetically.
I tried to understand why I kept doing wrong. Once, I was headed for death and destruction, but I had encountered the Eternal One who changed my soul and brought me from darkness into the light. I loved Him and sought to put His Book of Life into practice daily, but I still fell short.
“Why do I have so much guilt?” I said aloud. Apostolos glanced up at the sky. “Don’t roll your eyes at me.” I chuckled. “You’re right, I am forgetting the truth. The Eternal One says I belong to Him forever and I’m no longer condemned. He has already taken all my guilt on Himself, freeing me from shame through His own dying and rising. It’s good to remember. Because I’ve put my trust in Him, I’ll never be put to shame.”
I whispered a prayer: “Here I am again, broken and in need. I don’t always do what I should do, what I want to do. You know the wrong that I have done and how I wish I could undo it. I need Your help to resist next time I am tempted, and to heal the hurts I’ve already caused. I know You forgive me, and I must release this to You. Remind me, Eternal One, that Your mercies are new every morning.”
Opening my hands, palms raised to the sky, I released the guilt and shame, accepting the Eternal One’s immeasurable forgiveness and unfailing love. • Savannah Coleman
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)
• Have you ever felt like the character in today’s sci-fi/fantasy story? Frustrated with yourself for doing wrong even though you know what’s right? In Romans 7, the apostle Paul wrestled with his propensity to sin, even though he belonged to Christ. If we’re honest, we’ve all echoed Paul’s words: “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (verse 19). Thankfully, there is hope and rescue through Jesus Christ (verses 24-25). If you’ve put your trust in Jesus, you’ve already been brought from death to life (John 5:24). Because Jesus died on the cross for you and rose from the grave, you are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). The Bible says anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame (Romans
10:9-11). Now that’s good news! If you have questions about what it means to put your trust in Jesus, check out our “Know Jesus” page.
• As followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit in us to remind us of Jesus’s words (John 14:26). When God’s Spirit in us reveals a sin or prompts us to change, this is a beautiful sign that we belong to Jesus and He is working in us to make us more like Him (Philippians 1:6). God knows we will continue to struggle with sin until Jesus returns and makes all things new. When God corrects us, He is specific and gives us hope. Consider taking a moment to pray, confessing any sins that come to mind and thanking God for His sure forgiveness through Jesus. Some Christians find it helpful to include gestures when they pray, like opening their hands as a symbol of releasing guilt and shame to God…and receiving His forgiveness and love.
• As Christians, sometimes we still feel guilty even after we confess our sin to God and repent from it. But this kind of nagging, unspecific guilt we may feel after we repent is not from God; He gives us freedom from regret (2 Corinthians 7:10). So whenever we feel guilty or ashamed, we can come to Jesus. As we remember what Jesus has done for us, we can rest knowing that God’s mercies are new every morning, and that God “has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
• Do you have any friends like Apostolos, friends who comfort you and remind you of God’s faithful love and compassion? How could you be this kind of friend to others?