I’m working on curing a bad habit that until yesterday I didn’t even know I had! See if you recognize the same blind spot.
Whenever I do or say something that I see later may have hurt someone, I immediately say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” That’s not the bad part. It’s what comes next that can hold us back spiritually.
Because after I pray that prayer, the thought of the moment of thoughtlessness comes right back to my memory, stronger than ever, and I pray again, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s a good prayer to repeat during the day, but here’s the problem: I pray it when the shame comes back again because I don’t realize that “against God alone have I sinned” and have actually received the mercy I asked him for! I just keep praying, and feeling the sting of the mis-step as if God had not heard my prayer.
Funny thing is that after Confession, I have no problem believing that my sins are “forgotten by God” – which is such a great way to think of it! We’ve known “God forgets” ever since Jeremiah foresaw the reign of mercy in Christ: “I will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin (Jer 31:34).”
But our enemy wants us to forget that. And I’ve been falling for the lie.
Here’s what we can do instead. Follow our prayer for mercy with a prayer for guidance whether he wants to do more healing of this in the confessional. Then, end with a prayer of gratitude that he is healing us — that the inexhaustible treasure of mercy won for us on Calvary has really flooded down on us whenever we simply ask for it.
Then do a happy dance that you’re one step closer to living in the freedom of the children of God! :)