What is That Thing that you said that you would never do. That Thing is something that you know if you ever did, then that would mean that maybe your parents would be disappointed in you or you would lose your friends or you would get fired or.... God would look at you differently... like in a bad way.
That Thing could be doing drugs, having sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend, having an affair, murder, abortion, abusing your children, stealing, anorexia, selling drugs.... the list goes on and on and on.
That Thing makes you feel ashamed. That Thing makes you want to isolate yourself. That Thing may have consequences that haunt you the rest of your life. That Thing may be something that you think only affects you, but slowly begins to seep into your relationships and hurt the people around you too.
So, what happens when you do That Thing? Do people look at you differently? Do you feel that people are whispering about you when you walk in the room? (Been there) Does shame keep you from going to church and facing people that know what's going on in your life? (I've been there more times than I can list) Do you feel like there is no possible way that someone can forgive you? Do you feel like there is no possible way that God can forgive you.... because you did That Thing... and it was awful and you feel awful and you ARE awful?
Well, here's the thing. That Thing is just that. It is a Thing. Yes, it is sin... but That Thing is not so bit that God can't or won't forgive you.
I was on a walk today with the girl I nanny going over some scripture for a class I'm taking. When I came to a specific verse, I literally stopped in my tracks. Ella trotted back to me and said, "Hand!" and grabbed my hand to pull me down the sidewalk. Which verse?
Isaiah 1:18: "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow."
So, check this out... I've read Isaiah. I've done two studies on it. I love it. But, I've never thought about this verse beyond the classic, "God can forgive your sins" application.
Today, it was different. Because two days ago I confessed That Thing to a leader at my church and we worked through The Plan to help me walk through the consequences of That Thing. I felt shame and embarrassment when explaining. But, it was nothing compared to the stuff the leader had heard before. I wasn't worried about what she would think about me. I was stressed about the awkwardness between God and I afterwards.
Isn't that weird? I mean, He already knew what happened. He was there. He sees everything. But something about owning up to my defects makes the relationship with Him awkward for me. Like I have to have God prove that He still loves me in order to gain my trust again.
Well, He did just that.
You know what He said to me with that verse? He said, "What is a stain, Lindsay?" And I thought about it. A stain is something that ruins something's appearance. It can also ruin it's ability to function, depending on the circumstances. A stain is something that destroys, frustrates and can cause years of remembering That Thing that caused the stain.
In terms of sin, a stain may be a broken relationship, going to jail, the death of another person, a baby, a physical scar, depression, becoming permanently paralyzed, losing your license, or facing the death penalty. A stain is a consequence of sin, something that may affect your livelihood or may simply affect your heart.
The amazing thing about God is that His promise is, "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you [not declare or deem or pronounce.... MAKE] as clean as freshly fallen snow."
Amazing. Breathtaking. Love. Grace. Mercy.