“I’m Sorry!”

20 06 2018

God doesn't love because You are special ...you are special because he loves you

I am a chronic apologizer. If I had a nickel for every time “I’m sorry” rolls off my tongue on any given day, I could buy a very nice car. I grew up in the midst of a culture where “guilt” was as available as the air that I learned to breathe. Let’s just say that I have never been one who had to be overly grilled to see the error of my ways. If it went wrong I just assumed that it was my fault. Rain showers ruining our family picnic, “I’m Sorry.” My Mother had a bad day, “What did I do?” Our local community didn’t meet its annual budget, “I know I will be blamed somehow!” Let’s just say that this is not a healthy or admirable trait.

I tend to chuckle when I hear legalistic preachers playing the role of moral policemen in their diligent attempt to make sure that everybody knows how sinful we are. I know the Bible is clear in its teaching that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; but I also know that our Lord is filled with compassion, mercy and grace that He freely bestows upon His needy creation. Do I feel worthy of the everlasting love of Jesus being unconditionally given to me? Mark my words, “Not on your life!” I have battled my entire lifetime really believing that I could ever be receiving something I know I wasn’t good enough to earn. As a matter of fact, I think that I have been very guilty of working hard for what God longs to convince me I already have. Grace is the place that Heaven is inviting us to land our hearts. Still humanity is convinced that slavery to feeling bad about everything is a much better look for us when we inhabit the Sunday sanctuary.

I’m not thinking God is totally pleased with my expertise in sporting a non-stop confessional lifestyle. I can say all the right things theologically and still walk in bondage to the chains in my brain. How many of you grew up hearing gems like these? “You always disappoint me. You are so fresh. You never do anything right. You are so bad. Why can’t you be good? Why do you always have to mess it up?” I could go on but you get the gist. And I wonder why my first impression about myself and my abilities were always initially negative. I think that when I read in the New Testament, “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength,” I can’t help but add, “That’s true for everybody but Rudy!” Just because it’s not printed in black and white doesn’t mean that this lie isn’t ingrained in the bowels of my heart.

God doesn’t love you because of what you do, but because of who you are! The joy of being a child of His has nothing to do with our performance. When you think about it, almost all babies are pretty selfish when it comes to their demands and yet healthy parents will do anything it takes to meet those needs. Living loved must precede any chance of our behaving well. Guilt makes a lousy goal. God’s kindness leads to our giving up on our self-reliance and come into a wonderful surrender of resting in Him. God loves us not because we are that loveable. He made the move towards us when we were about as disinterested as we could be. What draws me to Jesus is the immensity and intensity of His desire to have me be with Him. God doesn’t shame us into the kingdom. I love the Lord not because I have to but because I want to and I want to because I don’t have to. Me always saying, “I’m Sorry,” has at its root my inability to believe that God has erased the old tapes and given me a brand-new heart which guarantees a fresh start. The old me is gone and the new creation that the death and resurrection of Jesus has given birth to doesn’t have to operate driven by fear. If faith is to ever come alive then it must believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Would the Lord say you believe this by the way you behave?

The Lord loves me. I am finding my joy in rediscovering that fact. I’m a Pastor but that doesn’t make Jesus love me one iota more than He already does. I have good days and bad days but God’s love stays the same. He doesn’t tease us so we will please Him. It’s not some cosmic game of chess. It’s not a contest at all. Love is love or it is not love at all. I don’t have to apologize for being me. I need to jump into the fountain of life and splash to my heart’s delight. Yes, I need to say, “I’m Sorry,” when my deeds are destructive, but as Bruce sang, “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” Stop with the guilt and start with the grace! If we are going to do what Jesus did, then what are we waiting for? Go for it! You won’t be sorry you did!



One response

20 06 2018
Dennis Hall

Thanks Pastor Rudy. I think most all of us struggle with what you have written to some degree. How can He possibly love me when He knows all the mistakes, crap and sin of my past? But we still believe to the best of our ability the fact that He tells us and loves us and we are forgiven as we confess and try not to go back to the vomit of yesterday! If I can’t believe that truth, how can I believe the truth that our Jesus died for our garbage? Please help us Lord in any unbelieve that is in us! Help us to discard the lies of the evil one and move on in the truth that sets us free. Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus for Pastor Rudy’s transparency and for for helping all of us as your priceless, awesome kids of the King!

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