Who is not familiar with the crushing shame of failure? Who doesn’t experience an emotional blow when their ego is knocked down a notch… Or 42 notches?
I have often felt both those things (and more) when face to face with my sins and failings. Daily I look inward and see not a spotless, pure bride, ready to gracefully walk toward her bridegroom. Instead I see a poor, torn, and crestfallen maid stumbling, tripping, and falling into his arms.
I come before my God not with pride and confidence in my accomplishments, and all the great and noble things I’ve done for him. I come before Him keenly aware of who I really am -- a sinner.
I know that as a sinner, there’s nothing I can ever do to “earn” the love that God bestows upon me. It’s not about a transaction between the two of us -- whereby I do good things, and then God in return loves me. No. It’s a trusting relationship whereby God is my Father and I, His daughter whom He loves... no matter what.
In the good times, when I’m practicing virtue well, and doing charitable acts left and right… it’s easy to feel like God’s love for me is appropriate according to my actions.
But it’s when I sin that I really know His love. It’s when I fall flat on my face in a pile of my failures that I get to experience God’s mercy.
And I’m glad. Don’t get me wrong, I am not proud of my sin. I am not looking to sin more. On the contrary, I do everything I can to avoid sin and the temptations to sin… but… I am glad I am a sinner because my sinful humanity has taught me how to love others. If I never knew the Father’s mercy, how could I extend a similar mercy toward others? I need His perfect example in order to teach my flawed heart how to love mercifully.
Suddenly, every fall doesn’t have to be another reason to berate myself. It’s another reason to throw myself into God’s arms of mercy and learn once again, how to forgive and love those who hurt me.
Because the truth is, my beloved God doesn’t see my scars, my wounds, my failings… He doesn’t see me as a poor, torn, and crestfallen maid. He sees me as a pure and beautiful, glowing bride, washed clean by the blood of the lamb.