sometimes there are days when i feel... unlovable. not because i think that i'm unlovable, but because i've become... aware of my own sinfulness. anything can trigger it - i hear a song on the radio, or a commercial, or hear a snatch of conversation... or for one reason or another i'm reminded of things i've said or done that i know have been wrong, that i know have been offensive to God. i feel that i am unlovable to God, that he will turn his face from me and no measure of tears, no sea change in living will turn his face back to me again.
and yet i know that that's not true. my heart is so full of bitterness and hate i'm turned against myself and made to forget - sometimes for an instant, sometimes for what feels like an age - what my head knows with utter certainty:
"that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." [romans 8:38-39]
"if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." [1 john 1:8-10]
it's easy to have these in our heads but not grasp them in our hearts. when we know what we are supposed to do and do not do it, the power of sin can create in us a tremendous sense of guilt that distorts everything inside us. yes, our sin has repercussions, but i think that if i could have lost my salvation, i would have done so before now, and those words of paul in romans would be no comfort for me now, no point of arrest in my downward spiral of self-loathing and self-pity. yet they are such words, comfortable and giving me pause. if i could lose my salvation so easily, could i not have won it by my own efforts? i don't know for sure - not for dead certain, i don't think: i'm still turning it over in my head and wrestling with it in my heart - but my increasing suspicion is that my role in my conversion was to confess the truth that Jesus is my Lord and i am not. full stop. my role in my sanctification is to trust, obey, and repent at all stages. and my role in my glorification is to turn up and praise God for his justice and mercy and love.
so what made me think of this? the band, sons of korah. their album, redemption songs, is an awesome collection of psalms set to contemporary music, and their version of psalm 32 is an awesome and touching reminder to me that i could not pay for my freedom from slavery to sin - i was redeemed by one who could: the LORD.
psalm 32: forgiven
of david. a maskil
blessed is he who is forgiven
who sins are covered
blessed is he
whose sin the LORD won't count against him
in whose spirit there is no deceit
when i was silent i wasted away
through all my groaning
every night and day
your hand was heavy upon me
my strength was weakened
as in the summer heat
and then i acknowledged my sin to you
and i didn't cover my iniquity
i said "i'll confess my sin to you"
and you forgave me the guilt of my sin
so let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found
while you may be found
and then surely when the mighty waters rise
they will not reach him
they won't reach him
you are my hiding place
and you protect me
and you surround me
with redemption songs