It is wonderful when God shows us the gravity of our sins and prompts us to repent. Especially when it’s because we have prayed and asked that he might do so. Today God answered a specific prayer of mine, and I wanted to shout his mercy and kindness from the rooftops. But I’ve settled with my WordPress blog for now.
There is a sin which I often commit and find it difficult to feel remorseful about. My heart had become hardened to that sin, and I knew that I needed to repent; not just to say “I’m sorry, Lord,” and then carry on with my life as before, but to actually mean it and subsequently feel repulsed by that sin. I prayed over it, and now a week or so later, God has answered in the form of a dream which showed me how heinous the least part of that sin was. It was a vivid, heart-sinking dream; I awoke from it feeling shaken, and what stayed with me afterwards was the image of the face of the person whom I had wronged. I remember now that a friend of mine had a similar experience about a year ago when someone had prayed for her without her knowing. When she told me about her dream, I told her what had been prayed for her, and we knew that the Lord had answered that prayer.
You might call it coincidence, but I believe that the Sovereign Lord who calls all things into being and orders all things, ordered that I should dream that dream last night, just as he would order me to dream any dream any night. The Lord willed that I should pray, and that it was through the dream that God gave the prayer its answer. Praise be to God for prompting, rebuking and providing new reasons to rejoice in him! His mercies are new every morning.
Something the Lord taught me today…
You know when you feel bad about something and want to repent and get it off your shoulders, but you feel like the shame is too much and that repenting isn’t enough? That happened to me today. My temper had got the better of me and I had made a hurtful comment. But then a thought about the nature of repentance flashed across my mind, and I found myself praying, “Lord, put my shame for that on Jesus”. Immediately, I was utterly disgusted that I had even dreamt of praying that. I envisaged Jesus carrying his cross, stumbling along in agony, covered in blood from tip to toe. How could I dare to pray such a thing against my Lord and Saviour who died for me, when I had no right to walk away Scot-free for saying such a horrid thing? I should be the one feeling ashamed here, not the sinless Saviour who died for me!
Then I realised. That’s precisely what Jesus came to do. The scars, the blood, the agony, Jesus went through it all so that I wouldn’t have to be held responsible for that horrid comment I made today. In fact, you could say that it was because of that horrible comment that he had to go through it. Let’s forget ‘churchy’ language and niceties here. “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow” is all very well. But what it means is that I can pray “Lord, put the blame for that horrible comment I made today on your blameless son Jesus whom I killed” and walk away knowing that I’ve been made innocent. It’s scandalous. It makes my stomach churn just thinking about it.
And it’s made me never want to sin ever, ever again.
I know that I will sin, and that Christ’s blood will cover it. But just as the scandalous nature of God’s love prompted me to cry out, “No! I don’t want Jesus to take my shame!” before remembering that the reality of Jesus’ suffering is God’s overwhelming love for a guilty humanity that doesn’t deserve to have its sentence waived, in the same way I hope that it will make sin seem ever-repugnant in times of temptation.