Do you ever have those days when you are fully aware of your shortcomings and failures? Maybe you walk around feeling like that all the time, like you have a large weight around your neck reminding you of all your guilt and shame.
My Great Aunt taught me something and it is called, the “Not today!” choice. This is what you say to the tape that begins every morning. The one that brings back all your dirty sins and past woes. This is what you say to the ugly that shows up every day knocking with a bag full of negatives to throw at you.
If you are a Christian, you believe that Jesus saves and He died for your sins, so in turn you should also be living in freedom from condemnation, guilt and shame; however, I , a Christian myself, did not experience that at all for many years because the Jesus I was introduced to wasn’t full of grace but of expectations for me to live up to.
If you know that Jesus too, you have been misled. Jesus was sent to die for us knowing we were sinners, we didn’t send him, He chose to go for us, but why then does the feeling of ick still try and keep us in the swamp of sadness? Why even when we repent do we still feel like we are hideous?
For me it is and always has been a choice. For years I chose to live in the guilt because I didn’t know I could let it go, but even now knowing I can surrender it after my repentance, I still have a tendency to try it on like a robe. I say things like: This is who I am now. I am an ugly hateful person. No body likes me, guess I’ll go eat worms, because I am a worm.
But God wants us to accept the gift of Christ, and to do that we have to repent and offer up our sin to Him so that it can be taken away. We have to let it go. And with that we too need to forgive others. If God is faithful and just to forgive us we must do the same.
When I was brought up in church there was a lot of emphasis on feelings; however, as an adult I have learned you can’t always trust your feelings. They can be the biggest deceivers. They can tell us to hate, to be angry, to hold grudges, grumble and complain, and to get revenge if we let them. Feelings can lead to action, and the only action we want our feelings to lead us to should be repentance and or praise or both.
The good times don’t show our trueness. It’s the bad times that expose our weaknesses. And when we are at our weakest is when we need to pay the most attention, because that is when the negative tape, or should I say recording, starts to tell us we are no good. Once we have sinned and asked for forgiveness it is gone but if we are being reminded of our sins over and over again, it is because we have allowed the tape to play in our heads.
When instead, what we should do, can do, and Christ says we are to do is say, “Not Today!” We don’t have to play the tape. The word says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV
It is as simple as that. A feeling is just a feeling. Even Corrie Ten Boom explains it in her book, Tramp for the Lord. She calls it the Ding-Dong Principle. She explains that asking for forgiveness is like a ringing church bell, once we ask for forgiveness it is like some one stops pulling the string, but it takes time for the bell to slow down and the vibrations to stop. “The purity of your life is evidence of your deliverance, You should not worry about the dings and the dongs, they are nothing but echoes.” Corrie Ten Boom, Tramp for The Lord Ch.32
So when you feel like saying, “Don’t look at me I’m hideous.” Remember we can surrender that feeling to God and accept His beautiful robe of righteousness. And remember the wisdom of my Great Aunt and say “Not today!” Or remember Corrie Ten boom and say to yourself, “…nothing but echoes.”