As a Christian, it is very easy to carry with you guilt – Guilt for your sins, Guilt for your shortcomings, Guilt for your weaknesses.
When Guilt festers unencumbered, it can start to tear away at you, rending your soul to the point where you start to question some of the most basic principals of Christianity – namely, that God Loves you as you are and that He came to call sinners, not condemn them. He condemns your sin, not you.
At Mass this evening, I starting thinking about Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial. It’s easy to read about His betrayal and focus on the act of the betrayal itself and how Peter reacted to the realization of his own actions. Tonight, however, God challenged me to watch Christ instead. So, I thought about the Words He spoke to Peter and realized something.
Even though hours from now Christ’s rock, Peter, would deny his Lordship, Christ did not condemn him. He did not kick Peter out of the club. Instead, He told Peter what he would do. With our imaginations we can project various tones that Christ might have used when He spoke His prediction. After rehearsing several condemning takes on Christ’s words, I tried one of tender mercy. When I did that is when God said, “Precisely!”
Tender Mercy. Tenderly Loved.
Like I said, it’s easy to let the Guilt of our sins fester. That festering blinds us from the Tender Mercy that we are freely afforded. Instead of hearing Jesus speak tender mercy, we choose to hear him speak with condemnation or conflagration or excommunication.
I cannot say for sure if you do this to yourself, but I do allow my Guilt to make me feel unworthy of God and, therefore, feel cast away from Him. It takes great effort on His part to remind me that I am a foolish child, Tenderly Loved and cloaked by his Tender Mercy.
Lord, help us to move forward with our missions instead of sinking in the quicksand of our misguided guilt.