Social Awkwardness & God’s Grace

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This post was written by my 18 year old (in a few days) daughter, Emily. Hopefully, we’ll see more of her writing on here in the future. I hope this blesses you as much as it did me.

I just wanted to share something that has been on my heart lately, as far too often, I come back from a social gathering and dwell on what I did wrong. I tend to think about what I should have said or not said, how some of my comments were probably not something Jesus would have said, and how I should have listened more, talked less, and spoke with the goal of building others up rather than just to be heard.  (James 1:19-20, Eph 4:29-32)

Anyone else? Just me?

But then I read Scripture, and while still acknowledging that I fall short of Jesus’ example, I also realize I shouldn’t feel guilt and only guilt. I should be able to admit my shortcomings and move forward in seeking to follow Jesus, asking him to help me to have the fruit of the Spirit. When we ask, the Spirit gives us his fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I’m currently working on these when communicating with others.

I’ve been a believer since I was a fairly young child, and as such, I’ve sinned more since coming to know Jesus than I did before I gave my life to him. A crazy thought, huh? I struggle with that one from time to time. No matter how much I know that my sin is paid for once and for all, sometimes when I fail to live up to his example, or when I mess up and realize my mistake too late to prevent or undo it, I feel guilt. But guilt doesn’t come from God.

Now bear with me, I’m not saying God doesn’t convict us, bring our sin to our attention, and tell us how once again we’ve fallen short of his glory. (Romans 3:23) That He does for sure. But that’s just it. He reminds us, both of our shortcomings and of his grace.

But overwhelming guilt? Focusing only on how we’ve messed up with no hope in sight?

That’s not from God.

What is from God is that feeling of disappointment, even grief over how we’ve given in to the flesh rather than resisting it and following Him. (Romans 7:24-25) God doesn’t just point out how we’ve failed, he shows us what to do. He reminds us to repent, which means to turn around and go the other direction. We should acknowledge our sin before him and those we have committed it against, if possible, then repent, turn around and make an effort to walk both away from sin and toward the Lord. (1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

Scripture tell us:

  • His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • We cannot be taken from his hand no matter our mistake (John 10:27-30)
  • Even the greatest of the apostles failed at times while striving to follow God (Romans 7:15-23)

When we speak harshly to, or interrupt someone intending to make a point, get our own way, or just be heard – that’s sinful. But when we go to them in humility and repentance, acknowledge our mistake and apologize, then ideally they forgive us, right? Whether or not they do, we may still have to deal with some consequences depending on what we said.

Thankfully, God always forgives! No matter who we’ve have sinned against, we have sinned against God first and foremost by breaking his law (Psalm 51:1-4). But he is gracious and willing to forgive, love, and guide us in the right direction (Psalm 86:5, Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 3:5-8).

That is the best news to me by far!

Not only does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection remove the debt of all my sin (past, present, and future), but he will help me to walk with him when I ask. He doesn’t just forgive and move on, he wants to be involved in our lives, helping us to deal with the aftermath of our sin, walk in new life, and rejoice in him. That’s practically the opposite of debilitating guilt, isn’t it?

In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul says:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

One of the reasons I like this passage is because it doesn’t apply only to situations where the stresses are out of our control. Sometimes the situation is of our own making, but that doesn’t mean that the Lord won’t comfort us when we ask for help.

The walk of a follower of Christ is not perfect by any means, only Christ himself can live up to that. Our lives will indeed be filled with stumbles and shortcomings. However, living in guilt rather than repentance and joy doesn’t exactly provide a good witness to others, now does it?

Can you imagine witnessing to someone and saying, “You should accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, because he can save you from your sins and give you eternal life with him. Oh, by the way, after you’re saved, you’ll still sin and feel awful about it.

No! That doesn’t sound like the gospel at all!

We say that Jesus saves us from sins past, present, and future, but do we really think about what that truly means? I know sometimes I forget about the present and future part far too often. It’s not just about being saved and forgiven, it’s about what we do after we are saved, as well.

After all, there’s a reason that believers are still on the earth, and it’s not to have a bunch of people stuck in the shame of their sin. God loves us, has saved us by his grace, and has created good works for us to do! (Ephesians 2:4-10) He wants us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and proclaim the good news of salvation to others because of how it has changed our lives for the better! In Christ Jesus, we have been set free from the law of sin and death and should eagerly want to tell others about this new life we have. (Romans 8:1-2) The chains of sin and shame are no longer binding us!

I hope this post is a blessing to someone and encourages you today.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

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