Journal Entry ~ 03/08/19

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. 
—Ephesians 2:4-5

We are to be humbled by the free gift of His mercy every day. But the reality is that we are often so dead in our trespasses and sins, we are only vaguely aware of our guilt before God—guilt that requires His mercy. 

We often try to avoid our guilt by looking at others as greater sinners than we are. We justify our actions by comparing ourselves to the sin of others, leaving us deep in the sin of judging others. Comparing ourselves to anything other than God brings us up short. The world will tell us that we're "not that bad," and so we avoid the guilt. When we are deep in a conflict with a difficult person, we can only see the sin of the other person. We justify our attitude and our actions because of what they did. Or we look at another’s struggle with sin and think we’d never struggle with the same sin, so we consider ourselves a better person. As a result, our prayers often don't reflect the humble gratitude we should have for all that He has done for us, and end up being a list of requests that would either make our lives easier, or resolve the sin issues of others. "Please make my sister see.." "Please help my husband to.." "Please protect my children as they..." It’s so much easier to see another’s struggle with sin than it is to see our own. We need God’s mercy just to show us how very broken we are, to show us what the rest of the world can see but we cannot. 

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, we become so self absorbed by the guilt of our sin that our despair paralyzes us.  Again, we compare ourselves to others, but this time come up feeling like a failure and we become overwhelmed. We think we are not worthy to receive His amazing grace. Instead of looking at the beautiful gift of mercy that Christ has given us, we hold up a hand, rejecting His gift, saying we don't deserve it. How completely arrogant - to tell the Creator of this entire, massive, incredibly beautiful and intricate universe that He's wrong.  Can you imagine how you'd feel if you gave a beautiful gift to someone you loved, and they refused to accept it because they didn't think they deserve it? 

In either case, our focus is in the wrong place - our problem is self, and our sin is pride. We don't have the power to fully humble ourselves to the place of recognizing the beautiful gift of mercy He has given to us, we need to go to Him for that. Our prayers should begin with a request that He bring us to a place of humility and give us eyes to truly see the amazing gift of mercy. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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