Did you run Charlie over with Olivia’s stroller and hurt his foot?
I was outed. I had almost forgotten that happened. We were at the beach and Charlie was standing on the front of Olivia’s stroller as I was starting to walk them to the car. He found this quite entertaining and fun until he lost his balance, and fell over. The wheels of the stroller tapped his leg, but in a toddler’s mind that equates to “running him over”. And his foot. He hurt his foot when he decided to run away from me, tripping over some cement and cutting his toe. My mind quickly tried to figure out how my husband knew about this, as he let me know Charlie had told him… and a few others at church as well. Lovely.
The law was death. His life was love.
I had also almost forgotten the brief moments of shame and guilt I felt as Charlie cried in my arms telling me that I had run him over as I tried not to focus on the other people who were at beach surely watching all of this take place.
This wasn’t the last time Charlie would out me. It happened again as Charlie was about to go to bed and a friend of mine was over. He shared with my friend a mommy fail moment that had brought on the guilt that I won’t mention here. This mommy fail moment was far from my finest moment. My friend that was with me comforted me and let me know that it happens to the best of us, but this left me wondering how I could do something so careless. This moment could have lead to a spiral of self-condemnation, except for words a friend had prayed over me just days before. You need to give yourself grace.
She was outed. She was made to stand in front of a group as the teachers of the law held their grip tight when it came to the law, and loose when it came to grace. I bet they were proud when they said to Jesus “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” I can almost feel the shame and guilt she must have been experiencing. I bet there was no sense of pride as she maybe thought to herself They weren’t supposed to find out.
I definitely felt like that when Charlie shared my mommy fail moment. But Jesus does the unexpected in our guilt and shame. The law was death, but His life was love. The stone held death. Jesus removed the stone with love. He didn’t condemn her. He didn’t even bring attention to her mistakes. He doesn’t give her what she lawfully deserves. Instead He graces her with love, and instructs her to go and sin no more.
God doesn’t love us because we are loveable. He loves us because He is love and His love never fails.
And that is how He meets all of us who come before Him. There have been so many times over the years that I have felt guilt and shame over things that I have done. But Jesus has met me in those moments with grace and love.
God doesn’t love us because we are loveable. He loves us because He is love and His love never fails. This is the love that frees me from the guilt and shame of my mistakes. This is a love that gently encourages me to not get caught in a spiral of self-condemnation but to except His love and learn from my mistakes. It is a love that gives me another chance, and brings life to what was dead.
God, I don’t want my mistakes to hinder me with feelings of guilt and shame. I know Your love reaches those places where we feel that we have failed. Thank you that we can come before you when we don’t to measure up to perfection, always. Thank you that we don’t have to come before you with quivering lips, but with prayers of confidence that you will not condemn us. We are imperfect people who deserve the stone. Yet in our imperfection You remove the stone and love us because Your love never fails. In our times when we feel guilt and shame, would You remind us of your unfailing love, and undeserved grace. May Your love free us from the bonds that hold us in captivity. In Jesus name. Amen.