In my last entry I spoke of an unhealthy guilt in regards to trying to improve myself. I have had many times of berating myself for failing to be perfect, even though I was actively improving overall. No, I was not yet in the perfect image of Christ, but I was getting closer and closer to it.
But today I want to talk about the other side of that coin. Because I have also strayed into a unhealthy lack of guilt when I have done wrong. I have found it all too easy to do what I know is wrong, and then immediately ask forgiveness for it, fully knowing that my heart was still unchanged. I have even apologized before doing the wrong thing, making a promise that “this will be the last time.” A promise that, of course, never held true.
It is possible to beat ourselves up for not being perfect, but it is also possible to give ourselves a free pass, defending ourselves with the argument that it’s enough to just “want” to be good.
But what has always given me hope is that my conscience has never been at ease with either extreme. I may have thrown over to one side, and then overcorrected back to the other, but in both cases my heart knew that God was not in either, because neither of these is the way that God treats my mistakes either. He does not berate me for my errors, but also He does not ask for “lip service” only.
And now, with this established, I will spend the rest of the study considering how God (and the godly) do respond to failings, and how I can emulate that pattern with myself.