My sweet sister.
I get it.
It’s hard. It’s enticing. It’s strong.
It’s a part of your lifestyle.
Deep down, you feel the guilt.
Deep down, you know your shame.
You want to stop, but you wouldn’t even know where to start.
You are so loved.
Every single part of you. Even down to the deepest cracks in your heart.
You are loved.
You are prayed for. You are sung over.
You are prized.
So, my friend, let’s talk.
Let’s talk about sin.
It’s a three letter word that I don’t like hearing, but don’t hear enough.
Sometimes, I hate living in America because our culture has normalized and embraced and even praised sin.
Having sex with strangers. Getting drunk. Cheating the system. Stealing. Rebelling against parents. Using the name of “Jesus Christ” as a cuss word. Habitually watching porn. Cheating in relationships.
And sometimes I hate how American church communities, having been influenced by our culture, have normalized and accepted different types of sin:
Worrying about our future. Being greedy with our blessings. Making idols of marriage and kids and work. Believing that religious activities save us.
Listen, my sister.
Sin killed the only One who has looked on me with pure love.
Sin killed the only One who has pursued me through the ages.
Sin killed the only One who my heart burns with passion for.
I hate sin.
God hates sin.
Sometimes, when people are struggling with sin, I hear people saying, “It’s okay…”
I’ve told it to people.
I’ve been told it.
But hear me: No, it’s not okay.
Sin killed our sweet Jesus. It’s not okay.
There’s abounding grace and a beautiful redemption.
It’s forgiven. It’s paid in full.
But it’s not okay.
In the American church, there are so many wrong themes of the cross.
Sometimes, we use the cross as a means of self-help, making our hearts feel better about our brokenness.
My sweet Jesus was not nailed to a cross for me to feel good about my brokenness, for my hurting heart to feel comforted, for my guilt to be pleasantly balmed.
Sometimes, we use the cross as a means of manufacturing a trail mix type of love, one that demands no response and that we can pick and choose when we want it.
My sweet Jesus was not nailed to a cross for me to periodically acknowledge that there is always someone there who loves me, while still living in my sin.
And sometimes, we look at the man on the cross and are utterly unmoved. We regard it in vain and as folly.
My sweet Jesus was not nailed to a cross, killed and crucified, for me to, in vain, praise and utter His name as Lord and Savior while denying Him and continually nailing Him back to the cross with my sin.
My sweet Jesus was crucified to set me free from my sin.
Spurgeon once said,
“Look to the cross, and hate your sin. For sin nailed your well beloved to the tree.”
Sin nailed my sweet Jesus to a tree.
I hate those nails. I hate that old wooden cross that killed him.
But what I must always remind my heart of, is that the nails and old wood didn’t kill Jesus.
As if pieces of scrap metal and some old wood could keep the Son of God hanging.
My sin kept Him there. My sin held my precious Savior to that cross.
His love held Him there.
I hate my sin.
I love His love.
On a softer note, hear this, my sister:
I think so often, and even unintentionally, our minds wander to feeling like God is angry with us, that He is mad and disappointed.
And because of that, we feel like we reallyyyyy messed up. Like we are done for it. Like we are unworthy, unloveable.. just too screwed up.
But this is the thing:
God’s heart for your repentance from sin isn’t a heart of a dictator, of an authority who makes demands of you to conform to his way.
No, no, my sister, God’s heart behind his desire for you to repent is because your sin is going to kill you. He loves you.
Yes, He loves you more than you even love yourself.
He sees you playing in trash and dirt and grit. He sees that it’s not only bad for your soul, but that it’s going to kill you.
So He, in a loving, Fatherly, passionate and desperate voice says, “Repent.”
Repent, He loves you.
Repent, He’s calling you out of the dirt.
Repent, He’s better and sweeter and filled with more joy.
Repent, my sister, He has always loved you.
When we understand that the voice that speaks the word, “repent” is not an angry dictator, but rather a loving Father who desires your good, with all He is… it changes everything.
Suddenly, repentance isn’t such a dark and religious word.
Suddenly, it’s a beautiful and healthy and desired gift from our Father.
He died so you can repent.
He died so you can come out the dirt and grime and slum…. Into His love, His grace, His fullness of joy.
Oh sister, He died to set you free from the slavery of sin. No more guilt. No more shame.
You are no longer held captive by a devil who’s leading you astray.
Your chains are broken. The shackles are undone.
You, my friend, are a child of God.
He’s not mad at us. He’s not even disappointed. He’s not angry; He’s not giving up on us and slamming the door.
Rather, He is still looking on us with eyes full of love, with a heart that desires more good for us than we even do ourselves, saying, “My grace covers you.. My grace covers you.”
And that grace, what a beautiful thing.
We are so undeserving. He is so kind.
His kindness leads us to repentance.
His kindness leads us to repentance.
My sister, I want to be as blunt and brutal as I can be right now:
Sharp, rusty pieces of scrap metal pierced through the flesh and veins of your sweet Jesus, blood gushing down.
A jagged and sharp spear was thrust into his ribcage, spewing out blood in a pool.
Yet even then, He cried in the last gasps of breath he had, “Forgive them.”
Your forgiveness has come at a beautifully devastating price.
It was never free.
His grace is costly. His grace is beautiful. His grace is lavished and lavished upon you.
By His wounds you are healed.
Repent, my sister.
For He is alive.
With much, much love. And a plea to dwell in righteousness. –Melissa
p.s. beautiful cover photo by Emilee Prado (@emileeprado) + Meghan Sheppard (meggysheppy) ❤
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