Remission and Restoration
A medical doctor oversees thousands of abortions during his career. When he realizes the barbarity of his actions, he becomes a Christian and a pro-life crusader—but cannot automatically erase the memory of the lives he destroyed. A young woman brutally murders two people and is sentenced to death. On death row, she becomes a Christian, but still dies ashamed of her crimes. A professional athlete, a professing Christian, compromises his moral standards. Though forgiven by his family and teammates, his actions become part of his reputation. An American president, also a professing Christian, commits immoral acts and lies to cover them up. Though he remains in office, his legacy bears a permanent tarnish.
Sometimes the painful situations we find ourselves in are the result of our own sinful or unwise actions. There are always two kinds of pain associated with such actions: The pain of moral guilt and the pain of personal shame. In both cases, this pain can cause the spiritual person to refocus his or her attention on the only one qualified to alleviate pain in human experience. How does focusing on God help when we have caused our own pain?
Israel needed the answer to that question as well, and God used the prophet Micah to deliver it. God’s people had sinned terribly by rejecting God’s standards for righteousness. To discipline them, God brought other nations to judge them. But he also brought a healing message through Micah: God “pardons sin and forgives the transgression” (which is healing for moral guilt). Also, in time, God fulfills the promises made beforehand (which is healing of personal shame and restoration of integrity). God forgives our guilt as soon as we confess our sins, and gives power, one day at a time, to build a new life on top of the ruins of the old. This is the God who fills our vision when we focus on him.
Sometimes it’s hard to see God through the fog of guilt and shame. But when we focus on him, we grasp hope—someone bigger than our sin is on our side! Today, or the next time you need remission and restoration, look beyond your guilt and shame to God.
God’s Promise to You: “Remission and restoration are my gifts to all who bring me their pain.”
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