“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23 ESV)
Do you ruminate over missteps? Does it lead to thinking back over your life and replaying all the big mistakes you’ve made over the years? Do you continue to feel worse and worse about yourself until you think you must be the most unworthy person in the world? Surely it’s not just me.
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul’s thoughts spiraled downward as he considered his tendency to do what he didn’t want to do and fail to do what he ought to do (Rom. 7:15-20). Fully mired in the weightiness of his sinful nature, he cried out in verse twenty-four, “Wretched man that I am!” Tell me that doesn’t strike close to home.
More than once, I’ve forgotten to complete a task I promised to do. And more than once, my slip-up has shadowed me for days or weeks. The reminder that I let someone down plays on repeat. Instead of acknowledging that I’m imperfect, my brain continues to spiral with negative thoughts–I’m unreliable, I’m flaky, I’m stupid for forgetting, the person will never trust me again, I’ve ruined the friendship. On and on and on it goes until that one mistake becomes a part of my identity.
Many of us are excellent at beating ourselves up for our failures. We’re also subpar at acknowledging our successes. Of course, achievements don’t blot out or cover up our mistakes, but just as a win is fleeting, so, too, should our mistakes fade into our history.
A person can be generally kind but occasionally snap at another person because of stress, tiredness, or hunger. It doesn’t mean that they should now be labeled cruel. We all have the capacity to demonstrate the uglier characteristics of humanity and do on unfortunate occasions. It doesn’t mean we should allow those instances to define us.
God doesn’t want that for us. He has done everything he can to show us that fresh starts are possible. Each day, each hour, each minute, God offers us the chance to be renewed. The verse above states that his mercies are new every morning and that they never end. If God’s mercy is continual, then we can receive it at any time. God’s love for us is always available, ready for us to wrap ourselves up in it instead of wrapping ourselves in the self-condemnation we are prone to.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we let the negative stick to us while the positive glances off? Why can’t we remember all that God has said to us and about us regarding our value?
Read the rest over at The Glorious Table.