Grace is my favorite word. I believe it's because I have come to understand that grace is God showing us His greatest favor, when we deserve His greatest punishment. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -not by works, so that no one can boast." How wonderful it is to know that we are loved and have found favor in the sight of our Creator. We aren't perfect and He knows it, but out of love His grace is given to us every day and is available to all.
While it seems everyone should be excited about this truth, I know of so many hurting people that have such a hard time receiving grace because they don't feel they are worthy of it. It's usually because of guilt from something in the past and wrong choices that were made. Then the negative thoughts of "You messed up beyond repair" and "You're not good enough to go back to God after what you have done", rings in their ears and keeps them discouraged. I understand, as I have been there, but fortunately I have found that my relationship with God is not that fragile. It's not a "mess up once and done" kind of deal. I say many times that you are no shock to God, and it's true. He knew you before you were born and all of the choices you would make and are going to make, yet He still decided you were worth it and sent Jesus to the cross so you could receive salvation. If you are someone that is living in condemnation over things you can't go back and change, you need to know that you can always go back to God. God corrects those whom He loves, not condemns.
There is a difference between correction and condemnation. I use my son as an example when I am speaking on this subject. As a parent, I correct Dalton when he makes a mistake because I want him to understand why the choice he made was wrong. I take the time to do this because I love him and want him to realize that I am trying to protect him from consequences that could cause him pain and tribulation if he does not heed my advice. Sometimes a punishment is necessary depending on what he has done, but I don't tell him that he's worthless because of the bad thing he did, or that since he has messed up quite a few times he is no longer welcome in my presence. I couldn't imagine ever saying those words to him! He's my son and I love him no matter what mistakes he has made, or will ever make. That's exactly how it is with God, our Father. He loves us far more than we love our children, spouses, family, and friends, so why would He turn away from us? The answer is He wouldn't; however, when we choose not to seek Him, we are the ones turning away. As a good parent, He will correct us by making us aware of what we did, but guilt and condemnation are not of God. I believe this is a direct hit from the Enemy to keep us depressed and sad so that we don't make progress in our spiritual walk. If you think about it, when we are feeling guilty we aren't being very productive. You can't move forward when looking back, nor can you be a blessing to others when you keep thinking of yourself and how bad you feel. This doesn't mean that we take sin lightly, in my opinion it means that we recognize what we did wrong, confess it to God with genuine repentance, and then move on in faith knowing that we are forgiven.
Furthermore, when guilt tries to come against you, don't forget who you are in Christ. The Enemy wants you to believe lies like you're not good enough, or that you are too far down for God to reach you, but you can fight back with the truth of scripture. Scripture is a spiritual weapon against the Enemy. Tell yourself that you are dearly loved and have value in God's eyes, you have been made the righteousness of God through Christ, and that He who is in you is great than he who is in the world. You'll find that condemnation will have no place in your life when you begin to speak what God says about you!
Have a great day everyone and remember to walk in love and speak in peace.