“Every morning I must say again to myself, ‘Today I Start.'” St. Anthony of the Desert

I am one of those people who has a tendency to wallow in the guilt of her sins. Particularly the “unpardonable” sins that I think everyone will hate me for if they ever found out. I beat myself up and generally just think that I am the worst sinner ever. Because, if I don’t, then I’m not really repentent and I’ll turn around and do the exact same thing again.

We were talking a few weeks ago at church about being repentent and how a lot of people think that you have to be down on yourself for quite awhile if you’re really sorry. This is fuel for people like me who want people to know “really, I’m sorry!” and so we feel like we have to do the whole self-bashing thing in order for us to be sorry and for people to see that we are. But I don’t believe that this is what Christ desires of us.

Does He want us to repent? Yes. Does He want us to feel sorrow over our sins? Yes. Does He want us to continue to beat ourselves up even after we’ve confessed and asked forgiveness? I don’t think so. Because that takes away from what He did for us.

When Jesus died on the cross, He knew exactly what He was dying for. He knew every person that had been born, was born, and would be born. And he knew every sin that they had commited, were commiting, and were going to commit. And He still died. Even though He knew we were gonna screw things up. Repeatedly. Even though He knew we were gonna hurt Him and each other. Repeatedly. He still chose to die. So yeah, we sin. It’s bad. But it’s not bigger than God and it’s not bigger than what Christ did on the cross.

Christ came so that we can have life. Eternal life, sure. But I also believe He came so that we can have life *now*! Life to the full. And if you’re busy wallowing in guilt and regrets over past mistakes, then you aren’t living life to the full. You aren’t accomplishing all you could accomplish and you aren’t giving glory to God. Paul refered to himself as the worst sinner and look at all he did. You sin, you confess, you repent, you move on. You get back up, dust yourself off, and you keep trying. Every moment is a new moment to make a new choice. Every day is a new day with a fresh start. You may still have consequences to deal with because of your sin but you don’t have to stay down with the guilt.

I said this on the Dwelling Place blog in our discussion about free will. “He knows that we’ll make mistakes. But He’s God. He can work for good even through our screw ups….” God can create from the pile of rubble we cause. Beauty from ashes.

Today I start.