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Censor or Celebrate: More than Dust Under the Bed

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Isaiah 44:22

I learned early in life to pout when I didn’t get my way. As a child I hid under my bed, with the dust balls, to pout. I stayed there for hours, memorizing every knot and grain pattern in the wooden slats supporting the box springs and mattress. It usually took that long for someone to come looking for me. I didn’t know how to turn from my anger until years later.

Today’s word that we don’t like to mention is repentance. I’ve cowered when I heard it shouted from pulpits as a tactic to produce guilt and shame. Repentance is often mistaken for confession. Repentance is not a one-time event at salvation. Do we fear repenting because we imagine God is angry with us?

If so, there is good news!

Repentance is returning to God and leaving whatever else has captured our attention and affections. It doesn’t always look the same for everyone. My independent rebellion is more like the older son—in his self-righteousness, morality, and judgmental attitude—than the prodigal son’s foolishness in Jesus’ parable. Likewise, my repentance appears different.

These are some ways that returning to God takes place in my life:
  • lifting my eyes in confidence to gaze into the compassionate eyes of God instead of shamefully hanging my head in self-condemnation;
  • walking towards the open arms of my loving heavenly Father who welcomes me back from hiding and isolation;
  • honestly engaging with my trustworthy Daddy in heaven, who wants to share His blessings with me—instead of pouting in anger and pretending that everything is alright when it’s not;
  • standing securely clothed in Jesus’ righteousness before a pardoning Judge—in exchange for my filthy rags of self-righteousness;
  •  humbly allowing the radiance of God’s glory to reflect from my face instead of desperately maintaining my mask of perfectionism; and
  •  choosing to walk according to the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit instead of wallowing in self-pity and defeat.

Lord, Thank You for Your kindness that keeps drawing me back to Your heart of love and acceptance.

Karen Sims

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