As I stood on the roof watching the sun set, we talked about mistakes we had made.
You see, I don’t want to let things follow me around… but they do anyway. Mistakes have this relentless attachment to my always-guilty conscience — they know all the right buttons to push and make me crazy. They are the reminder that I am fallible: far from perfect, utterly wretched, a human being in the worst way.
One of my favorite Bible stories has always been that of the woman at the well. Her words near the end of the tale say it so well: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).
I hate — hate — to think of all of my mistakes, knowing that even if I keep them a secret from my friends, my family, my church… He still knows all of them. Can words even express the depth of guilt that I feel? How can someone so pure and unblemished care for me, clothed in rags, broken, unclean? And yet, in knowing all of me — all of my mistakes, all the things that leave me stained red instead of snow white — He still loves me.
Mistakes seem to be a recurring topic in my life lately — my own mistakes, the mistakes of others, conversations at the dinner table, in coffee shops, standing on the roof of Wesley (Heather and Tim, you do not know about that) — and the common theme is simply this:
“I can’t let go. I can’t move on. I just feel so guilty.”
But where do we draw the line? Where do we stop and say to ourselves, “This is enough,” and, “I’m done letting this rule my life,” and, “It’s time to move on”? If Jesus — the same Jesus who was nailed to a cross because of our sins — can forgive us… shouldn’t we forgive us?
Now mind you, I’m no Biblical scholar, so please don’t take this as Biblical truth — but it seems to me that by not forgiving ourselves, we’re spitting in the face of the one who died to take away those mistakes. It’s like sending your roommate to the store to buy you a can of black beans, only to say thank you and then immediately throw the can back at her when she brings it home… “Thanks for going out of your way just for me, but no thanks. I don’t want them.” Seriously, who would do that?
So here’s the kicker. I wouldn’t do that to Ashley (…and by the way, thank you for picking those up! Balela salad, here we come) — but I’ll do that to Jesus? Are you freaking kidding me?! Something is WAY wrong with this picture.
As I told a friend recently, there (most unfortunately) is no How to Move Past Your Mistakes For Dummies book in the bookstores these days… and more’s the pity, because I would EASILY be the first person in line to buy an autographed copy. However, that doesn’t give me license to grovel in my past mistakes. They’re done. They happened. They ruled my life for a little while… but now they’re in the past. Time to move on.
It’s time to let go of these mistakes, friends. I don’t know the secret move-past-my-mistakes formula, but I think this sums it up rather nicely:
“To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known — and you know me, you actually know me — all of me and everything about me, every thought inside and hair on top of my head, every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread, my past and my future, all I am and could be — you tell me everything. You tell me about me.” (as heard in the clip below)
I’ve made some really dumb decisions in my life, but you know what? It doesn’t matter what the hell I’ve done — because I serve a God who knows our hearts, and He sees the guilt and brings restoration, and He sees the hurt and brings salvation. Mistakes happen, and they’re going to keep on happening… but dwelling on them does no good. Time to say thank you for that can of black beans and move on.
If you have a minute or two extra in your day (two minutes and thirty-seven seconds, to be exact), I highly highly encourage you to watch the video I’ve included below. It gives me chill bumps every time I watch it… brings me to tears, literally. He knows me. He loves me. There’s nothing more I could ask for.
Thanks for reading, blog-friends. As always, you’re the best!