Clinging to the Only Truth I Know Will Hold Me: A Poem

Note: A poem about the faithfulness of God’s Word for someone dealing with an anxiety disorder. I’ve had a rough weekend with my anxiety over the last couple days. When it’s high, it’s so hard to trust anything, even the Word of God. This poem is a reminder to you, but most importantly to me, of how much I need to hold onto that Word that will never leave me high and dry.


Can I explain to you the importance of God’s Word?

See, my mind wanders a lot.
It goes back and forth, forth and back
I’ve learned I can’t really trust myself,
because my anxiety makes my brain lack.

What does it lack, you ask?

Peace, assurance, confidence, trust.
Oh, I want these things. I beg for these things.
But it seems that God doesn’t hear.
Those things, it doesn’t seem He brings.

I’ve been mad before.

Oh I’ve been furious. Pissed. Ticked.
Wondered how a good God could leave me like this.
I can’t trust myself? Seriously?
It seems my thought life’s been given a death kiss.

So what can I do?

The one and only hope I have
is clinging to the Word that always gives back.
The Word that says I’m loved
and God’s patience with me will never crack.

What does that Word say to me?

It says He’ll never leave nor forsake
though my mind wanders and doubts that all day.
It says He’s on my side all the time,
even when I feel the furthest away.

It says His love is greater than sin.
All I must do is let it in.

It says His patience is unparalleled,
so my heart will always be held.

It says don’t lean on my understanding
but trust Him with all, a sure standing.

It says He’ll support the blameless and meek
every single stinkin’ day of the week.

It says He’ll make straight my path
and overcome my foolish mental math.

See, if we’re to believe Romans 8:39,
that nothing can separate us from God’s love,
I need to hold onto that promise
even though it seems there’s no help from above.

Because my mind lies to me.

And I hate that every day.

But with God’s Word on my side,

I’ll be able to say,

I’m forgiven and loved, no matter how I feel.
I can trust Him with all, even when it seems unreal.
He’ll catch me when I fall, and hear my appeal.
It’s the only truth I know will hold me; it’s set in steel.

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Three Keys to Talking About “Hard Stuff” in the Church Context

This is part five of five in my five-part series on talking about the hard stuff within the church context. Check out Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 by clicking on the links. 

I’ve been a lot more outspoken recently in groups of people about how I think the church is not willing to talk about certain things, and I’ve gotten an interesting reaction.

What I’ve found is this: those over 35 are quicker to say that that’s not true, that we can talk about things, even hard things, in church without a problem. It’s got to be in the “right” context, yes, but we can talk about. On the other hand, younger folk feel as if certain topics aren’t allowed to be talked about, aren’t allowed to be discussed, particularly the ones most pertinent to their lives. For instance, some of the things I’ve written about in the previous posts in this series.

Why is that, I wonder? There’s a few possible reasons.

  1. The older generation does talk about these things but the younger folk feel excluded from these conversations.
  2. The older generation thinks that these conversations happen but they actually don’t.
  3. The younger folk are not seeing/taking part in these conversations even though they’re happening right in front of them.

I don’t know why, but for some reason that’s what the perceived reality is in the current church context. And there’s only one way to fix it, in my mind. Have the conversations in a broader context. Just talk about it, for goodness’ sake. From my reading of the Bible, there are no restrictions on who you should talk about things with, when you should talk about them, how much you should share. In fact, Scripture says, “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16), “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). So whether it’s sins we’re talking about or difficult culturally relevant topics, the command in Scripture is to talk.

But how do we talk about it? What are the keys to having conversations about difficult issues and topics and growing the church to a place where we talk about these difficult things?


 

Remember the Gospel of grace is your foundational identity.

There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)

If we have a full grasp of the Gospel, we will talk about our sin without worry of condemnation. The central point of the Gospel is that we have been given new life in Christ and our sin no longer has a grip on us and our eternity. The more that I’ve grasped this, the more I’ve felt comfortable talking about the things in my life I struggle with.

So often I think we hide things because we’re afraid of what people will think of us. I think that a lot for myself. I want to share current personal struggles, but I’m afraid of what people will think of me. I’m afraid people will trust me less, will think of me as less of a Christian, will not allow me to serve in ways I want to serve in the church. But if my identity is firmly set in Jesus and the cross and the forgiveness and grace the cross offers, the less I will worry about what people think of me. That doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with people’s views of me. It’s a process that takes time, but it’s one worth investing in.

Be intentional about including all ages in your conversations. And do it in love and understanding and patience.

If you’re going to start discussing things like racism, mental illness or profanity, it’s very likely that those under 18 are struggling with those things. If you’re going to talk about social media, technology use or modern dating/relationships, it’s likely that those over 35 aren’t as comfortable with those things. We as a church need each other. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul tells his young companion: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” There seems to be an emphasis on building relationships between age groups, not curtaining them off all the time. I think there’s good to limiting some groups to specific age groups for certain conversations, but there’s also a point to where we need each other.

One fear, especially from the younger crowd pertaining to including the older crowd, is that there won’t be a mutual respect of opinions. There are times I’ve definitely felt that older men don’t respect my opinion or even my feelings on a topic simply because I don’t have the same “life experience” as them. There is some truth to that opinion, but there is no quicker way to make a young person feel less valuable than to say (audibly or by your actions) what they think or feel doesn’t matter because they haven’t experienced enough. Some of us have experienced a lot. Eighteen years is a lot of life. Heck, fifteen years is a lot of life.

Please, be inclusionary. And don’t write us off just because we were born much later than you.

For the love of all things raven, don’t use “Christianese” all the time. Be specific.

One of the most obnoxious things I find about talking about hard stuff in the church today is that we throw out all the churchy phrases we can come up with to mask what’s really going on or what our real thoughts are. We bash politicians for being “politically correct” and then we get all “Christian-politically correct” in church. We end up sounding like these guys:

He’s really T’ing me off. I’m gonna kick his A.

Just talk about how you really feel and what you’re really dealing with. Not just what you dealt with many years ago, but what sins you dealt with earlier this morning. Just talking about things in a general way accomplishes nothing but glossing over the issue. If you’re a doctor, you don’t speak about cancer to your patient in general terms. You speak specifically about what kind of cancer it is, what the specific treatment is going to be. Let’s do the same. Let’s not gloss it over with phrases like, “I’m really struggling with sin” or “There’s a lot of gray area.” Just be specific!


 

This wraps up my series on talking about the “hard stuff” in church. Would love to dialogue with you about it if you want to discuss anything I’ve said. Just shoot me an e-mail at zacharyhornereu@gmail.com or tweet at me at @zacharyhorner.


 

Comparisons Are Moot and Unnecessary in Light of the Gospel

I’m a big football fan. And by football, I mean European/South American/Latin American/African/everywhere-else-in-the-world football. For Americans’ sake, let’s just call it soccer.

Every summer and every January, professional soccer clubs around the world scour the available market for new players. Fans and the media make comparisons on which players to acquire, which players to spend millions of dollars/pounds/Euros/other-monetary-units on to improve their teams.

Or, they compare possible prospects with teams’ current options in the same position. Example: Arsenal, my favorite team, recently signed Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech (from the Czech Republic, pronounced Pet-er Check). For weeks, media outlets made comparisons between Cech and Arsenal’s current ‘keeper options David Ospina (from Columbia, pronouned Dah-vid Osh-pee-na) and Wojciech Szczesny (from Poland, pronounced Wvoy-check Sh-shez-knee). Yeah, that last pronunciation is rough. Here’s a visual of one of those comparisons:

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Journalists analyze stats and intangibles and just about everything under the sun to try to figure out who’s better.

Often we run into this kind of comparison in Christian culture when we look at church growth. Which churches are the “fastest-growing in America”? How many people are coming? How many are making decisions? How much money is being raised for missions? What percentage of your budget is giving to overseas missions? How many kids show up weekly to your youth group?

Sometimes there’s a numbers fetish in the church. It’s not always bad. I love what Perry Noble says about numbers. His church does a lot of things with numbers, particularly with people. He says something to the effect of, “Every number has a name, and every name has a story, and every story matters to Jesus.” I love that. I think he’s spot-on.

The difficulty – and I know I’m being a little persnickety here – is when the numbers become a primary identity of the church. That often leads to comparisons, and lists like the fastest-growing churches in America. Sometimes an unintended consequence of this is a “my church is better than yours.” I’ve even seen this in my own heart when it comes to comparing the church I go to at home to the church I went to during college.

The comparisons don’t have to be numbers. It can also be the intangibles. Which theology more lines up with mine? Which pastor is funnier/more eloquent/more hipster/theologically deeper/better dressed? Which kids’ program is more fun? Whose coffee tastes more like Starbucks? Whose coffee is Starbucks?

Basically, we make comparisons all the time in the Christian world. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s something everyone does. The danger comes when it reaches our hearts and we begin to compare ourselves to the Christians around us.

I did this a lot in college. I had a friend named Jimmy. Real name. Loved the guy. Still love the guy. Super outgoing, super passionate. Funny as I’ll get out. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, loved him. He had a real heart for people and a real heart for the Gospel. He lived, and still does live, as if the Gospel was daily changing him and daily working on his heart. He was friends with everyone and was always having spiritual conversations with people, always reaching out to non-believers, befriending them. But it wasn’t in a “I’ve-got-to-do-this-because-I-need-to-save-souls” kind of way. His attitude was, “I love these people, and I love them so much I want them to know Jesus the way I do.”

He would have stories about guys he was sharing the Gospel with, people to pray for, opportunities to hang out. He was an Energizer Bunny kind of guy, always on the go, always full of energy. And I would look at him and feel super inadequate and super non-Christian. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t lord it over me or anyone. He was just being himself. And I felt super ineffective because I barely shared the Gospel with anybody, didn’t like making new friends and just didn’t have the same drive or passion.

I learned two things while thinking about how I compared myself to Jimmy. And they’re two things that are key to dealing with the comparison culture we live in.

We’re not all “Jimmys.”

I’m not an evangelist-type who goes around and has Gospel-sharing on his mind all the time. I’m just trying to survive the day most of the time. For a while, I thought that I was a defective Christian because of that. I thought I wasn’t the Christian I should have been. I was burdened for people, in a sense, but not like Jimmy was. It wasn’t his fault.

Not everybody has the same spiritual gifts and callings and talents. If we only had evangelists, who would support the believers when they’re not out sharing the Gospel? If we only had encouragers, who would share the Gospel with unbelievers? If we only had teachers, who would be learning? If we only had doers and executers, who would be doing the administrating and background work?

If you, who like me are not particularly gifted in evangelism and not drawn to that kind of work, spend your time comparing your spiritual usefulness to people like Jimmy, of course you’re going to be discouraged. On the other side, if you’re like Jimmy and spend all your time genuinely loving people and sharing the Gospel, you might be tempted to look at people like me and feel proud of yourself because you’re doing a lot of work for the Kingdom.

Comparison lends itself to discouragement or pride. It’s rare you find the middle ground.

Romans 12:4-5 shares this: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” We’re not all called to the same exact function within the body of Christ.

In a more general sense, the Gospel renders comparisons moot and unnecessary.

The only comparison that really matters is how we compare to Christ. And everyone compares unfavorably. Everyone who matches themselves up with Jesus, if they’re being honest, must say, “I don’t look good here.”

That’s where the grace of the Gospel steps in and says that we don’t need to make comparisons. Jesus overlooks how we compare to Him and says He’ll die for us anyways. While we were still sinners, Romans 5 says, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were rejecting God, while we were disobedient and rebellious, Christ gave His life for us. There’s no need for comparison to find worth. The worth is found at the foot of the cross, where Jesus gave His life. What 2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God – means is that Jesus gave us His righteousness at the cross. We’re seen as righteous and holy apart from our works.

Rant warning. I hate when popular Christian leaders prop up some old theologian as this great faith figure that we should read everything they wrote, we should live by their resolutions, we should celebrate what they did. I hate it because it makes me feel like poop that I’m not like that and never will be. What tends to happen is we forget they sinned too. In his book on Martin Luther, John Piper fails to mention that, near the end of his life, Luther hated Jews and wrote scathing criticisms of them that would never fly in today’s society. The Nazis even used it as propaganda against the Jews. And we’re going to sit back and be all, “Oh Martin Luther was so fantastic!”

Guess what? All those people sinned. Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Edwards, Owen – you name them, they sinned. And to compare ourselves to them is a fool’s errand because it’s not even the right comparison. And to prop them up as heroes is also destructive to the church. The only hero that’s ever existed in the history of history is Jesus. He was the only one who was perfect. He was the only one who ever did good every single word He spoke, every single thought He thought, every single action He took.

Can we be inspired by those people? Can we take comfort and confidence that mere men did the things they did? Sure. But how dare we place them on the level of Christ. Maybe I’m over-reacting or over-reaching or reading too much into it. If I am, I’m sorry. But my point remains the same: Scripture demands we make one comparison alone, and we fall short every time. That’s why we need Jesus.

So if you make comparisons to other people and feel discouraged: Jesus loves you despite of how poorly you may compare to other people by worldly standards, even if those worldly standards are wrapped around spiritual things. What’s required of you? The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 speaks quite beautifully to this:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Fear Is Easy, Love Is Hard

Fear will leave you hiding in the dark
But love will bring a light into your heart
So do not be afraid, do not be afraid

I’ve got to imagine that Jesus experienced some fear in the garden of Gethsemane. I’ve got to imagine that, along with the sorrow, He experienced fear. But, if I’m going to guess, He knew what He was called to do and loved us enough to go through it. After all, God so loved the world.

The idea of fear being easy and love being hard has been on my mind a lot the last 12-14 hours or so. There’s a Jason Gray song with that title and I feel like it captures the idea very well.

“Fear will leave you hiding in the dark.”

The dictionary definition of fear: “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Fear is easy because it usually doesn’t require a lot of thought. All it takes is simply seeing a situation and rushing to a snap decision to be afraid. That’s easy. We do it all the time. And we hide.

Also, there are a lot of things to fear in this world. We can be afraid of God, others, the world, technology, the government, members of the opposite gender, even ourselves. Potential objects of fear stand around every corner, both in the world and in our hearts. There are times I’m afraid of what I think and the sin I commit.

“Love will bring a light into your heart.”

Love: “An intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something.” Love is hard because it takes work and concentration and effort. There can sometimes be that intense feeling, but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes love must exist in the absence of feeling. And that’s the hardest part.

There are very few things that we can confidently love in this world, very few things we are even encouraged to love. Even “loving” a sports team, something so trivial in the bigger picture, can be incredibly difficult when they can’t score to save a life (I’m looking at you sometimes, Arsenal). It can even be hard to love Jesus, who is literally the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

The beautiful thing about fear and love is that we can look at God’s example of those things toward us.

Romans 8 tells us that nothing in all creation “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39). We can find hope, joy and rest in that outworking of the Gospel. He loves us no matter what kind of mess we are or get ourselves into. Jason Gray again, in the song “Jesus We Are Grateful” – “You are right to judge my sinful heart/but Your glory is Your mercy/for You condescend to make a friend/of an enemy like me.” He does not fear us, but loves us.

And we can learn more about love in 1 John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” For God, love is nature because He is love. He is so dominated by love that fear never enters the equation at all.

And now we get to us. We can only love others when we begin to understand God’s love for us – “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God’s love for us does two things. First, it makes us equipped to love. He gives us the Holy Spirit out of His love for us. We would be incapable of loving unless God, through the Holy Spirit, working in our hearts to change us. Second, it teaches us what love looks like so we can work it out. God’s love becomes the example for how we should love others. 1 John 4:10 says that love is defined by how God loved us – sending Christ to die for us. So we learn how to love by looking at how God loves us.

Last part. God’s love brings a light to our heart. It kicks out the dark that fear insists on.

God’s love crushes the shame and guilt we carry because of our sin because God’s love put that on Jesus at the cross.

God’s love crushes the fear of the unknown because God’s love says He’ll work all things together for our good.

God’s love crushes the fear of making a mistake because God’s love says that, even if we make a million mistakes, He still loves us.

“So do not be afraid, do not be afraid.”

 

Lies I Believe and Truths I Must Hold Onto When I Give Into Temptation

So you’ve done it again. You’ve sinned in that way that you always find yourself sinning. You messed up. You put your foot in the wrong door. You ate a bad apple. Whatever analogy you want to give for it, you were tempted to sin and you quit fighting and gave in.

One thing that I find helps me in the aftermath of sinful behavior is going back and seeing where I went wrong, what happened that led me to make the decision to follow through with sin. It’s a process I tend to go through several times a day, I find, for various sins and transgressions. I’m a sinful guy. I’m a bad Christian with a great Savior.

I find that there are a few things that I believe when I give into temptation, and they’re all lies in some way. But they’re also wrapped in a little bit of truth. I have to work through the lies to see the truth. That’s probably one of the biggest fights of the Christian life, to be honest with you, because it seems that Satan, and by extension us, like to believe things that have little kernels of truth in them, even if they’re shrouded in deception. I hold onto that kernel hoping it will justify whatever action I’m about to take.

The Lies I Believe

This will make me feel better. The unfortunate truth I’ve learned about sin is that it feels good. I hate that that’s true! But it makes sense. If sin felt bad all the time, even while you were doing it, nobody would want to sin. So this is a truth, but eternally it’s a lie. Yes, sin will make you feel good in the moment, whether it’s a lie you tell, lusting after someone else or getting angry at someone else. It feels natural.

It’s not a big deal. This is one of the trickier ones and one of the things Satan can really play on. In truth, our sin does not separate us eternally from God because of grace. So on the surface, it might not seem like a big deal.

You can’t beat the inevitable. I mean, it’s going to happen anyways, so might as well get it over with. Whether it’s a dramatic outburst of anger or a gossipy attitude, it’s coming, so might as well just quit fighting. We are weak against sin on our own.

You’re alone in the fight. I’ve got no one with me. It’s just me. In the moment when we choose to sin, we can only see us.

Truths I Must Hold Onto

Following God is always better. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Doing things God’s way always leads to more joy than any kind of silly “good feeling” sin can give you.

My sin takes me away from a deeper relationship with God. It’s a break in the relationship. Just like when you sin against your spouse/friend/parent, there’s a strain placed on the relationship with God when you do this, so it is kind of a big deal.

God is strong enough to help. God is greater than your sin and always will be. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the seer Hanani tells the rebellious king Asa, “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to lend strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards him.” If you’re a Christian, your heart has been cleansed and made blameless by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. So God wants to help you and is strong enough to help you. You don’t have to sin! You will, but you don’t have to.

You’re never alone in the fight. Just because it’s a big deal doesn’t mean God abandons you. The promise of the gospel says that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Plus, there’s no temptation that is exclusive or unique to you (1 Corinthians 10:13). There’s always someone else.

One Last Thing

If we’ve already given into temptation, we must turn to God immediately in prayer, asking for forgiveness and resting in His grace and His love for us. I find that the moments that I don’t want to do that are the moments I need to do it most.

I think there are two reasons we don’t believe grace. 1) We don’t think we need it, we can just do better, or 2) we don’t think we deserve it, we’ve lost the opportunity for it because of our sin. That’s when a certain passage of Scripture from Romans 8 comes to my mind.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

The Right Response to Messing Up

I always struggled with how to respond to a bad grade in school. Hopefully, I won’t have to deal with that for a while, now that I’m graduating and all. But there’s been times where I’ve been pulled between two different responses: 1) Just let it go, not worry about, it’s done, just do better the next time, or 2) Freak out, fret, obsess over how I blundered each and every mistake.

A handwritten book report is given an F for poor work.The idea for both responses was to stir myself to do better the next time, to not make the mistake I just made.

The same thing doesn’t really apply with sin, because we’re going to mess up again. It’s not like we can just perfect everything until we’re blameless in our actions. God promises to make us more like His Son; in fact, He predestined it from the beginning of time (Romans 8:29). But we’ll continually sin because that’s who we are. I haven’t heard of older men who say, “Yeah, I don’t really sin anymore.” In fact, all I’ve heard is that sin is still there. I imagine that, as one advances in life, you find different ways to sin. If I get married, I’ll sin in different ways than I do now as a single person. If I take a leadership position in a company, I’ll sin in different ways than I do now as a currently-unemployed about-to-be college graduate.

What I’ve found difficult over the years is how to respond to my sin. There’s two different ways I’m thinking of that we could take, one extremely detrimental and self-centered and the other extremely helpful and God-glorifying.

1. Work to get back on God’s good side.

This is generally my first reaction. When I see sin in my life, my first thought tends to be, “OK, crap, how do I turn this around? What can I do to get back to being a ‘good Christian?'” Usually, this involves seeking an intense time of Bible study with a relevant passage, reading a book related to the topic, some time spent in prayer. The thing is, that’s not what God desires of us in those moments.

In Romans 4:5, Paul states: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

When we mess up in the classroom or at the workplace or in the social arena, we usually have to do something good to get back on the teacher/boss/friend’s good side. When I make that bad grade, I need to work extra hard to earn an A on the next project to make up for that C or D.

I don’t think God works that way. Yes, when we mess up, we need to seek restored relationship with God by spending time with Him in those ways I mentioned early. That’s crucial, for reminding us of truth, for confessing sin and seeking repentance, etc. But we should not approach those times with the mindset of “getting back on God’s good side.” That’s an ignorance of our status with God as His children and the grace given to us by the blood of Jesus.

Plus, we can’t “get on God’s good side” on our own ever.

2. Spend time with God for healing.

Our sin hurts us. Sin of others hurts us. Sin hurts. There’s no getting around it. That’s why, when we see the sin in our lives, we need to turn to God for healing.

Hebrews 4:16 says that, because we have a great high priest Jesus, we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” 

We don’t draw to the throne of grace to work our way back up the totem pole of “good with God”-ness. If you’re in Christ, you’re already good with God! Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In those times of sin, we can still draw near to God with confidence to “receive mercy and find grace to help.”

We receive mercy, not getting what we deserve: condemnation, death, punishment. And find grace, getting what we don’t deserve: forgiveness, healing, new life.

So when we approach God after seeing our sin or spending time committing intentional disobedience, we need to go with Him for restoration and healing, reminders of our status before God, reminders of His love for us, reminders of our mission and call as Christians. Only with the truth of God’s Word can those wounds be sewed back up. Only with time in prayer can that relationship be restored.

But we must approach those times seeking healing that only God can provide. Healing, not work, is the right response to sin.