in pursuit of critical and compassionate living and thought. in surrender to courage & delight of Christ.
What is the difference between ‘brokenness’ and ‘guilt’?
In both we know we have done something wrong.
In both there is a profound element of knowing our sinful nature and human limits.
In both we know we are frail, unholy in our own devices, and in need of forgiveness and strength.
Our God is a God who delights in mercy over judgment.
Grace over condemnation.
Freeing over burdening.
Lifting over paralyzing.
Healing over hovering.
And magnifying His great love to us over magnifying our frailty before Himself.
Our God does not gloat in seeing our weakness. He does not need to see our worst to know He always offered better. It does not make Him feel great to see us feel small. He takes no pleasure in knowing “He told us so”. No. What this God loves is the richness of the gift of His immeasurable grace to us, because He loves the receiver, not the gift, not Himself. Do our spirits hear that? He loves to give, and He loves those he gives to.
What does this have to do with brokenness, and guilt?
It means we serve a God who gives us knowledge of our own sin, and our own limits, as gifts out of love, rather than as verdicts out of condemnation. He does not bring conviction, or an awareness of our dependency and need because He wants us to see these things about ourselves as the end goal. No. He wants us to see the situation of ourselves with His same eyes, so that we can take delight in the same things He does: a beautifully rich gift of grace and goodness, and that He loves us. In the same way that the God who is perfect in every way does not even fix His eyes on Himself in giving, He does not want us to fix our eyes on ourselves in receiving. He wants our eyes on LOVE. Love, love, love. For Him, though He Himself is Love, we are the object of His love, and He never takes an eye off us. For us, we must learn to love, and in doing so we will find that to fix our eyes on love, is to fix our eyes on Him.
Brokenness is found in love. And repentance is the method from one to another. Love gives us conviction and grace, repentance receives this Love to find it all the more. From Love to Love, we are carried. Repentance is a word for “turning” – of turning our eyes, our feet, our hearts, our minds, our all towards this Love. Guilt, on the other hand, is a focus on our (accurately) guilty conscience – on ourselves. And God is not the one who offers us guilt, simply because it does not lead us to where we will find Love. We must learn to understand that when God holds out conviction in one hand, it is never without His other hand outstretched offering grace. We must learn to choose to see all God offers us, and take both.
May our lives be bent in repentance towards His greater graces, towards discovering brokenness in finding Love.