"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress…" Hebrews 12:1
My preschooler was in a mood, and it was as if nothing was going his way and everything made it worse. To add fuel to the fire, we were out for a family walk, he was running ahead of us, and as my son got close to where the sidewalk ends, my husband shouted, "Oscar! Wait for us, buddy!"
But he didn't wait. He kept running.
My husband's voice grew louder, and I joined him in a chorus of, "Stop! Wait right now!" But it wasn't until my Olympic runner of a husband chased him down that Oscar stopped. There was a stern tone of voice and serious faces exchanged, but my son got the message loud and clear—"Cars are dangerous. You have to listen. When we say stop, you stop, and you have to wait to hold our hand before crossing the street."
And just like every time anyone gets caught in the middle of a wrongful act, he was ashamed. Red cheeks, downward eyes, puckered-out lip, and an even further sullen, gloomy mood.
We kept walking, but I was just watching him. He didn't lighten up. He didn't crack a smile. When his sister tagged him and ran away, he walked slower dragging his feet. And finally, after about a half mile, I couldn't take it anymore.
I said, "Buddy, let it go! You know what to do next time. You'll listen to us, and you'll stop when we ask you to. But you already said you're sorry, and we already said we forgive you—let's move on! Go, play. Enjoy the sunshine. Run free!"
And in that moment, I wondered if I got a peek into how God feels at times with us. We make a mistake, we don't listen to Him when we should, and we're ashamed the second our sin is uncovered. But even after we have a serious conversation with God, even after we've apologized, repented, and asked for forgiveness, and even after we try to move on, we still just can't let it go.
We kick ourselves again and again over a stupid mistake. We rehash a certain conversation in our minds and can't get over what we said. And we stay embarrassed, guilty, and regretful.
But if God has removed our sin as far from us as the east is from the west, why do we feel like we need to hold onto it? If He's blotted out our transgressions and remembers our sin no more, why do we sit in it a little bit longer? And if He's purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgiven our sins completely, then why do we live still chained up, brooding over it, and making it bigger than it was ever intended to be?
Yes, sin is a big deal. It's what separated us from God in the first place. It's the problem that Jesus came to fix. It's why Christ died the most painful death on the cross, and why every single person needs a Savior. We can't take that lightly.
But if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. God's people can approach His throne of grace with confidence, and every time we ask for forgiveness, we will always find complete and overwhelming mercy—and then, need to let go of the sin that God no longer counts against us.
Every time I trip up and go to Christ asking for forgiveness, I'm brought back to that walk with my son, and I see myself in those red cheeks and downcast eyes. Yet I can now hear and feel God's response so clearly— "You're forgiven! You know what to do next time. Go, play, live, enjoy the sunshine! You're free indeed."
May we find this complete forgiveness in the One who paid for it all already and enjoy the new life Jesus offers—a life full, abundant, and covered in grace.