Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Pain of Sin and the Glory of the Gospel

Another reader of the blog wrote recently concerning their pain and sorrow over continuing sin in their life. (By the way, I know that the use of "their" to refer to a single individual is technically wrong grammatically. However, usage changes over time and I am confident that this will one day be normal if it isn't already. It remains the best way to keep identity, especially gender identity secret in these blogs and in conversations.) I'll let their expression stand in all of its honesty though I have flattened out some of the details to further protect the writer. I will try to comment tomorrow.

I am in such pain and deep shame I can't give my name. But how do I get help if I don't? I've paid restitution financially but that's not enough for my soul. I can't focus. I struggle hiding the tears. I can't escape the thoughts of my mind. My throat hurts from the lump. I feel like I'm going to be physically sick from the anxiety in my stomach. I have to walk upright for my kids but I feel a hypocrite. How can I be an effective parent when I'm such a personal failure? I believe we are examples for our children but I've done something they cannot find out about or I would be the worst example.

I got caught stealing at a store. It was something I needed but didn't feel we could afford. I didn't have to do it. I even went back a second day and finally did it. But it's not the first time I've stolen. Everything I've heard is true. It gets easier and it gets harder to stop. Just like drinking. I used to be out of control with it [drinking] but I'm okay now. I was able to bring it under control. I thought I could with this. I didn't.

I couldn't even tell my spouse face to face. I did. I had to [though]. I've been banned from the store. I couldn't live with [it] then lying to avoid the store. I had to tell ______. I wrote a letter. They were surprised and ccouldn't say much because I gave it to ________ while the kids were still up. After it soaked in and we went to bed ________ asked if I wanted to talk? I said, "Not really."

It's too shameful. What can I say? So we didn't talk.

Will the shame diminish? Is this a healthy response? Certainly I have to have remorse. I'm scared. Horrified. Humiliated. Shamed.

Please pray for me.

Until tomorrow, please know that I am praying for you and that you have not sunk so low that the grace of God cannot find you.


Llama Momma said...

For the anonymous letter writer:

I have lived in this place of secrets and shame, and it's horrible. Don't stay there. Find a trusted friend and tell them the truth. The whole truth. Pastor Marty is someone you can trust, and, I daresay, he's heard it all.

There is freedom from sin and shame. Reach out for help. Repent. God's mercy is real, and it's for you. Today.

You are not alone!

ChosenRebel said...

Grace is such a marvelous gift. Unmerited favor, unrestrained love expressed toward we who are undeserving. It's marvelous isn't it? To know that a holy God instead of turning thumbs down on our failures, turns thumbs up on his plan to redeem and sanctify us.

Extraordinary! But how scary to approach!

God's grace is a furious fire. It will warm your soul but to look at it from our failure is to quake in fear at its power.

Was it Lewis? I'm not sure. But someone has said that God's grace is like a fire, but unlike a physical fire that the closer you get you run the risk of getting burned, the fire of God's love / grace is an ever deepening warmth of acceptance that replaces fear with joy. I know I have probably butchered it in my paraphrase but you are smart enough to get the gist. God's Grace may engender fear in your first glimpses and in the extremity of your need, but if you approach it, if you let his grace envelope you, you will find joy-generating warmth.

Lamma mama is right. Repent. Run to his flaming grace and tell him you love him and want to change. Then find someone to confide in and to help you with the struggle to remain true. Many of us have been there before you and found his mercy greater than our sin. And we will need you in the future when some of us stumble and need other voices to sing the meolody of his song of love when the shame of our sin drowns out, temporarily, the greatness of his mercy and grace.