Grace is Greater than Your Bad Choices

Bad Choices are often haunted in our memories by one thought: I’m a big fat failure.

We’ve all experienced the pain and regret of failure. At some point in our lives, we made a mistake, and we came to a shocking realization that we are not as perfect as we thought we were. On the contrary, many mistakes turn out to have enormously painful consequences – both for ourselves and for the person we hurt. We can all think of such moments in our lives: a harsh word said in anger, a disrespectful attitude, a self-centered moment… Such moments that hurt us and others. Such moments that we regret and wish we could take back – and sometimes, we can’t make right the wrong we’ve committed. Such moments often haunt our memories – whether at night or in the day – and when they come, the emotions begin to grip us as though it is happening to us afresh.

Often, and with good reason, we think of our failures in relation to ourselves and others (a loved one, a parent, a sibling, a friend…) However, let me also include in the list of failures the biggest failure in our lives: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). In this sense, we are all failures. We have failed God. And true Christians know what I mean when I talk about the pain, the regret, and the anguish that the Christian feels for having betrayed His Savior. A true Christian says, “’Twas I that shed that sacred Blood, I nailed him to the Tree, I crucified the Christ of God, I joined the mockery.” Thus, having a true love for his Savior and for others, but also dragging a body of sin, the true Christian often feels – and knows – that he is not good enough for he has failed his God and failed others.

failure

What does the Word have to say to him in such moments of despair?

I believe that Jesus in His Word promises us 3 things we need in order for us to deal with our failures. (1) Grace that tells me “everything is under control”, (2) Grace that Forgives, and (3) Grace that Transforms. If any of these 3 are absent, we fall into despair. Think about it. And here, we see the Triune God working correspondingly. Let me give you three kinds of passages of scripture that, when I have felt like I have failed my God and I have failed my loved ones, I have meditated on; and let me commend them to you for your meditation when such moments of pain haunt you:

(The Father) Grace that tells me “everything is under control”:

“The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand… For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Is 14:24, 27)

(The Son) Grace that forgives:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Tim 1:15) “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)

(The Spirit) Grace that transforms:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn 14:16-17) “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5:5)

Thus, knowing his failure, the Christian says with John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world…” but, he continues with like Newton, he continues with holy defiance in his heart and a rested trust in His Father’s Providence, and proclaims “BUT STILL I AM NOT WHAT I ONCE USED TO BE, AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM”

grace of god

Dear Christian, are you haunted by the guilt, the shame, and the regret of your failure? Look to the Father who assures you that He is in control of every single situation, look to the Son who shows you His nail pierced hands and assures you of your forgiveness, and look the Spirit who dwells in you and with you and will supernaturally transform you into the child of God you’re meant to be.

Daryl first got acquainted with  Transform Student Ministries in 2011 serving in the Summer Intern Program. When we asked Daryl for a short bio for the blog, he told us that he is a great sinner, and has a great Savior.

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