Posts Tagged ‘redemption’

There are times when I feel a little lost. I look back and wonder how on earth I have come to be in that particular place, at that particular time. How on earth did I end up holding this particular responsibility? Did I really say that I love doing x?

It does has its benefits. It means I can be a bit more vague when it comes to making decisions. If I’m not sure who I am it means that I don’t have a set standard of ethics to frame my choices. It means that I can sit back and let others do the hard work and be responsible. It means that I can love my green trousers one day and hate them the next.

Sometimes this can be classed as growth. The idea that you can look back with the benefit of hindsight and ask yourself “really?” Changing is not a bad thing. Especially when it is being transformed into the image of Christ.

But Christians talk a lot about identity. As forgiven people, we find our identity in Christ. We are no longer characterised by sin or the things we have done, but rather by what Jesus has done for us. We are new people. Such good news.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Brilliant. This means that I don’t have to worry about the old labels I had for myself. Self-harmer. Crazy person. Loner.

So why do I? Why did I tell someone yesterday that I considered myself to be mentally unstable at times? Or, even worse, why did I worry that they thought that I was? Do I still see myself as a self-harmer, or someone redeemed by grace?

I wonder whether these labels are easier to handle than facing up to the reality. The reality that I have become a new person, and that I do have choices to make about how to live my life, because that is what grown up people do. I think decisions are difficult sometimes.

There is also the fact that, by considering myself to be a self-harmer, it means that I am allowing myself the possibility of relapse. If I really felt I needed to. Maybe. When desperate. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Again, there are positive aspects to this. It means that I am more likely to seek the help I need from friends and others. It means that I am constantly relying on God for my strength not to cut myself. And it means that I don’t take my recovery for granted.

But to what extent will I be able to recover fully if I stay like this? Does it mean that I am defined by the bad things and the relapses rather than the redemption of the Cross and God’s love for me? How do I think God sees me?

Important questions from a slightly panicked heart.

I choose Christ. I choose to be defined by Him and not by a pair of scissors.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.’  (Zephaniah 3:17)

And this is so true.

 

Advertisements

Yesterday I had to write a difficult letter to someone. I had to write to ask them to be mature in a specific situation. To ask them to not continue to make things worse instead of better and to get over an event from the past so that we could grow into the future. It was difficult to write.

I decided to include the words “As a Christian, I believe that God shines a light into the darkest places and even the most horrible situations can be redeemed. I believe in grace that means we don’t need to be stuck in vicious cycles of despair, and in hope that the future can be better.”

In years gone by, I don’t think that would be how I would have summed up the Gospel. I would have talked about Jesus, the cross and how he died to set us free from the things we had done wrong. I would have talked about the need for us to make our own decision as to whether to follow him or not, and that is what makes someone a Christian or not.

But experience is starting to tell me that although those parts are obviously there, that the Gospel (literally good news) is far bigger and better than we can ever imagine. Reconciliation. Hope. Grace (and yes, have a read of Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace – I did borrow the cycles of grace from him!) Its not just the times that we forgot to say please or said a bad word. As I grow older, I see more of the good that God is doing even in the places where we expect nothing. God is bigger. The cross itself means nothing without the knowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. Sunday is coming.

So, I don’t know whether those words will help or not. But it certainly has been helping me.