A friend of mine shared a hilarious anecdote about the time that her five year old son caught her walking around the house with a mud mask on. He was terrified when he saw her and ran into another room. He was convinced she was covered in alien slime! Later, he reluctantly came out of the room, and she sat him down to explain that the mud mask would help her to look “pretty.” His response was, “Well- you kinda look good like that. But, uh… it will wash off, right?”
I laughed at the whole ordeal and thought to myself, ‘You know it is love when someone tells you that you look good with mud slathered all over your face.’ But that got me thinking about love, and about mud.
There is someone who DOES love us, even when we are mired in the mud. Jesus accepts us exactly as we are and where we are. He looks at us, covered from head to toe in our own denial. He might not say that we look good like that; but He says he loves us enough to take us like we are, cleanse us, and leave us better than we were. That is love.
Sin is like that mask; it isn’t actually who we are, it is just a temporary thing that we put on. By choosing to live in sin rather than face the choices we make and weigh them against God’s word, we push aside our morals and values – and we also push aside God’s presence in our lives. In doing this, we make it easier to live how we want, without the guilt. When we try to justify our life choices by simply avoiding our guilt, we are living in denial.
Unfortunately, we learned as children that just because we cover our heads with a blanket, it does not mean the monster in our room disappears. We have to come to accept what God says about us, and then we must apply those truths to our hearts.
One of the biggest factors in our emotional rollercoaster after we have sinned – or simply failed to live up to our own standards – is a fear of rejection. This fear comes from the disappointment in our hearts when we let ourselves down. If I can’t even get over my own mistakes, we reason, how can anyone else accept me? The wonderful news is that God always accepts us, even in our dirtiest, most sinful moments!
Romans 5:8 tells us that “… God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
That is the power of grace! It is all encompassing. Sin is sin, whether it is murder in cold blood or a little white lie; but God views all sins as the same, and He tells us that even our good works are as filthy rags. If you come to understand that nothing you ever do will earn God’s acceptance, and realize that He gives it freely – without reserve, without weighing and measuring your sins, your past, or your mistakes and failures – then you have the key to accepting His grace, mercy and love.
Thankfully, we serve a God who can look at us wearing our own personal mud mask and not shy away.
Have you ever felt like you were too “bad”, or “unworthy” of God’s love?
It is important to both confess your sins to God in prayer, and to forgive yourself.
Read the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), and notice the reception that the father gives to the wayward son.
by Lili Morris