Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 89:1-18; 147:1-11, Isaiah 59:1-21, 2 Timothy 1:15-2:13, Mark 10:1-16
We can all struggle with decisions. From dinner to voting, sometimes we just get stuck. A friend once advised that when we find ourselves spinning our mental wheels, we should flip a coin. The result is not binding: if it lands and we feel satisfied, let it ride; if we think, “Maybe two out of three…” make the other choice. When we go to friends for advice, they often tell us, “You know what to do.” At that point we’re not seeking advice so much as a nudge in the right direction. When we are determined to do something we know is a bad decision … those are the times we don’t seek advice at all.
Sin is that last type of decision: we deliberately turn away from God and conscience. Isaiah promises God’s arms are not too short to reach us, or His ears too weak to hear. Rather, we erect our own barriers through sin. Isaiah describes sinners who weave webs to snare others and clothe themselves, but find no shelter in them. He talks about the serpent eggs they hatch to poison others. Webs of lies. Hatched plots. Such sins cover us in barriers of shame, fear, and guilt that can make it feel almost impossible to turn back to God. Always there, he can’t offer forgiveness we don’t seek.
Jesus tells us to receive the Kingdom of God like little children. Children are shameless. They can grind peanut butter into a shag carpet and still ask for the jelly with a smile. We raise them to understand consequences, but spend little time training them to accept forgiveness. To stop reaching for us and to start obeying us – or hiding when they don’t. To see God that way. Tearing down those barriers built by sin means trusting that God will forgive us. That’s a lot of unlearning, but we don’t have to be defined by our bad decisions; Christ practically begs us to make the one good choice which restores us to wholeness.
We don’t need to flip a coin; we just need to flip an attitude.
Comfort: God is always waiting for you to seek His face.
Challenge: Learn to ask for forgiveness, even when you don’t feel like you deserve it.
Prayer: Thank you loving God for the gift of your grace. Amen.
Discussion: What conditions do you put on yourself (or others) before you can forgive?
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