God delights in changing evil things into good. He has this crazy habit of taking dark things and making them new. Many of us have a checkered past, many hurtful and ugly things have been committed on us, as well as by us. We have been wounded, and we have hurt others.
There are some of us with a mental illness. And some with a chemical dependency. These have been a factor in our sin, but they are not excuses. The Book of Proverbs describes this “playing with fire.”
“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?”
Proverbs 6:27, ESV
The first step we take is to “own up.” But alas, we have hid it for so long, denying and pretending that we have not been harmed, or have harmed others. We are masters of disguise, masquerading as whole people. When I was a boy, I often earned the task of cleaning the barn. You would scrape the manure into the gutter, and then dusted lime over anything left behind. But it was only cosmetic, it was simply covered up.
The deep promise of Jesus is not cosmetic. It is not superficial; it is not just “skin deep.” The profound actuality is that our transformation is inside out. It is a work that starts in our heart, and then works itself out where people can see. We have all tried to clean things up, but what we don’t need is more lime.
The love and forgiveness of our Lord is what we really must have. Our sins are making us very unpleasant people. As we get older we find that our evil has been compounded and extrapolated. The infection only spreads, and it gets worked throughout our lives and relationships. This is ruinous, and David understood.
“Then I confessed my sins to you
and didn’t hide my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my sins to the Lord,”
and you forgave my guilt. “
Psalm 32:5, NCV
We are sinners, and some of us are very talented at it. It is an art form to us. Our entire society, and every social aspect is sick with it. Jesus who knows us completely, and He loves us the most.
“In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace,8 which he has given to us so fully and freely.”
“I sinned against the Lord,
so he was angry with me,
but he will defend my case in court.
He will bring about what is right for me.
Then he will bring me out into the light,
and I will see him set things right.”
Micah 7:9, NCV