He couldn’t even look me in the eyes.
The weight of yesterday’s foolishness on his conscience made it impossible for him to lock his gaze with mine. Though I had tucked him in bed with assurances of my love for him, he still awoke this morning unreconciled.
He’s since apologized and our relationship is restored, yet he still bears a countenance of guilt. I console him again with scripture:
While delivering that truth to his tender heart, I pondered why I don’t often wake with the awareness of guilt that he so frequently does. I’d love to think that’s because I have fully internalized the grace contained in the Lamentations passage.
But–if I can be candid–I don’t think it is.
Instead, I think I have the opposite problem: I carelessly presume upon the forgiveness purchased for me on the cross. I race through my days with scarcely a pause to acknowledge my wrongdoings or the penalty paid for them on my behalf.
We’re two opposite ends of the spectrum, my son and I. He pushes away the grace given, feeling unworthy of it. I consume it ravenously, seemingly without care for its cost. Neither extreme is healthy nor an appropriate response to Jesus’ blood interposed for our sin.
Where do you sit on this spectrum?
Finding the sweet spot
How does one stay centered in the spectrum? For one such as myself, sitting on the flippant side of the equation, maintaining a regular practice of confession in conversation with God is the only effective remedy I see. I want my relationship with Him to be abiding, unstructured and spontaneous (though not irreverent), but this is an area in which I apparently need a discipline and rubric… to make it a regular practice. Conversely, my son may need the daily reminder that he lives a forgiven life and that God–in His perfect love–doesn’t hold our sin against us any longer:
[Love] … keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:5 NLT
As followers of Christ, we struggle against our natural, fleshly tendencies, whether in self-flagellation or presumptuous imposition on grace. That grace exists in perfect abundance–enough to forgive–yet we cannot forget its precious cost.
I invite your dialog on this question (below), my friends; please share in the comments:
What do you do to maintain the right understanding of your forgiven life in Christ?