Does someone like me deserve to be happy? It depends on who you ask. To be honest, depending on my particular mood on any given day my answer to that question will change.
There are many who live by the “You’ve made your bed now you must lie in it” code. I agree with that statement to a point. I believe there is nothing wrong with accepting the consequences of your actions. It is something that all of us have to do. But are we destined to lie in that proverbial bed forever?
I sinned. I admit that. What I did was wrong and it hurt a lot of people. There were consequences for my actions. I accept that. Do I have to live with those consequences for the rest of my life? Yes. So when is it okay for me to expect people to stop punishing me?
When we have accepted and are living with the consequences of our actions does that mean that we don’t deserve compassion when those consequences turn out to be hard ones to suffer and difficult to live with? The bible tells us the answer to that question is no.
Webster’s dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic of others distress together with a desire to alleviate it”. Based on that definition feeling or showing compassion to someone does not mean you are condoning their behavior. That is something I wish I could make some of my old friends see.
There are days when I feel like Martin Luther. I punish myself over and over and over again for the terrible things that I have done. I feel like I am worthy of compassion from no one and especially not from God. I feel like all of the people who believe I don’t deserve to be happy ever again are right. Why should I be happy? Why should I expect grace and mercy from all those out there who are staring down at me? I shouldn’t.
Sometimes I tell myself that I don’t deserve a single blessing from God. I deserve to not have a friend in the world. I deserve every single terrible thing that anyone says about me. I deserve every single bad thing that happens to me.
And then…….. I remember.
So what does that say for others who just won’t let my sin go? I don’t know the answer to that. I wonder if they can’t see my repentance. One of my favorite quotes from Ray’s book is, “your repentance has to be more notorious than your sin”. My sin was huge. Has my repentance not been?
When you ask God for forgiveness and you move in the direction of doing your best to live a life of righteousness from that point forward, how do you show that to other people? We can’t get a signed and notarized Letter of Forgiveness from God. We don’t get a patch or a pin or a banner saying that we have been forgiven so what does it take? I really wish I knew.
Living in social exile is not fun. It is sad and it hurts.
I am always looking for God’s hand in my situation. It has just occurred to me to that maybe God has led me to this place so that I might get closer to him. Instead of grieving the loss of the people in my life who have turned their backs on me I should be rejoicing in the relationship that my Father is trying to have with me.
When God pins you down in the belly of a fish it sends a pretty strong message. If you have read the book of Jonah you will know what I am saying. God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention. Thank goodness He chose to pursue me and not forsake me. I also thank God for using my husband, Ray and his sermon on Jonah this week to deliver this message to me.