“He made the One Who did not know sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we ourselves would know the righteousness of God by means of Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 One New Man Bible
“…So I have sworn that I would not be angry with you or rebuke you. For the mountains will depart and the hills be removed, but My loving kindness will not depart from you, neither will the covenant of My peace be removed, says the LORD, Who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:9b-10 One New Man Bible
I truly believe that so much of the stress, worry, and fear that I, and many people, experience comes from lies we believe – lies about ourselves, lies about our lives, lies about God. Even lies that we don’t consciously know we believe. Lies that exist so deep in our heart that even our minds don’t hear them, until one day they bubble to the surface.
I recently had one of these days. A day that revealed to me that one of the truths I know about God in my head hadn’t quite sunk into my heart yet.
I hate traffic. It is one of the big stressors in my life, especially if I’m in a big hurry to make it on time to something. If I’m already running late, traffic can literally bring me to tears.
So I was driving to a class downtown a few nights ago, and I actually left in plenty of time. Plenty of time except for the five and six o’clock traffic I didn’t account for. Instead of being twenty minutes early, I was twenty minutes late. I’m not going to lie, there were a few tears shed in that extra forty minute time span.
While freaking out (and berating myself for not leaving even earlier), I simultaneously tried to analyze why the heck I was overreacting in order to calm myself down. Even though it didn’t completely work and I didn’t exactly learn why I freak out so much (I think it has something to do with control…), I did have a revelation of a sneaky lie I’ve been believing about our Father:
Whenever I don’t leave for an important even early enough, I believe that God sometimes sends traffic to me, making me late, because He’s punishing me for not leaving on time.
Ok, just pause on that a moment. Let the ridiculousness of that statement sink in for a moment.
But now, step outside of that particular situation and apply it something in your life.
I did this and this in my past, and now God must be doing this in order to punish/chastise/teach me a lesson.
This can literally be about anything and everything. This one moment opened my eyes up to a mindset I’ve had for a lot of things in my life. If I do one thing wrong, I just can’t let it go. I go into watch mode to see who is going to punish me first for it. And sometimes, I didn’t even do anything wrong. I just wasn’t perfect.
Psalm 103:9-11 says: “He will not always chide, neither will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our wickedness. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who revere Him.” One New Man Bible
God dealt with Jesus according to our sins and our wickedness. When we revere Him, love Him, accept Him, our sins die on that cross.
He is not holding your mistakes above your head, finding ways to make your life miserable and hard. He’s not cackling at your tears and frustration. He doesn’t find pleasure in pain. God is not so petty that He’s holding onto it. That’s not who He is.
When you ask forgiveness, when you take your sins to the cross, it’s over. There’s no anger. There’s only love.
Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t consequences to actions. If I leave at 5:30, I’m going to get caught in traffic, especially in a giant metropolis. If God tells you to take actions A and B to get to E but you take G and H, then it might not go as smoothly or quickly.
But He doesn’t throw stuff at you to make it harder or more miserable. He doesn’t beat you up. He takes whatever you give Him, wherever you are and can so beautifully turn it into something good.
So stop beating yourself up. Stop thinking God is mad at you. If Jesus’ blood wasn’t strong enough to take God’s justice for your sins, then what was it good for?
Let Jesus be the sacrifice, and let God be your perfect, loving Father.
And maybe, just maybe, He’ll miraculously create a path for me to zoom through five o’clock traffic.