On times when the truth stings.

Do you remember when you were younger and you fell and scraped your knees? If you had a caretaker similar to my mama, you were held down as hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol was poured or dabbed onto your wounds. I always preferred hydrogen peroxide because the bubbles that would erupt as they killed infections fascinated me. But oh, did it sting. I kicked and screamed, crying and fighting and trying to resist the bitter treatment. But as a result of that pain, my knees never got infected from the dirt and pebbles that had the chance to hurt my skin.

Recently, I made a mistake. My attitude poisoned those around me as I wrestled with the consequences of my choices. I was filled with excuses and prideful denial, and my only goal was to protect my own skin, when I should have been thinking about how to make the right, God-honoring decision.

And there I was, with a gaping, infected, bleeding problem in my heart. I was not humble, nor was I acting Christlike. The bitterness and frustration pressed on my heart so heavily that I lost my appetite, fell a little behind on schoolwork, and everything I did was tainted with an angry cloud of guilt and dread.

Then, a Godly woman in my life came along and poured some Scripture and some truth into my heart. Let me tell you, when the word of God finds an infection, it bubbles far worse than hydrogen peroxide, and it stings. I knew that my heart was in the wrong place, but it seemed easier at the time to take care of it myself and not have to admit that I was in the wrong.

Because I knew that I was just wallowing in my sinfulness, I avoided God entirely – no eye contact, no conversation… the whole nine yards of the cold shoulder. (How’s that for a cliche party?) I decided that He could be off probation in my life when the storm blew over (okay, I’m almost done with cliches) and when I had my attitude back to where it should be. Until then, what help could He offer me? I sinned; therefore, I needed to pay the consequences. Why bother Him with this problem when it was my own stupid fault? I couldn’t simply approach Him with this massive sin in my heart.

But, While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. While you were still a sinner. Not “after I get myself cleaned up” – because I can’t do any such thing on my own. The Lord already saw my heart, and He desperately desires for you to come to Him and allow him to show you that He loves you anyway.

This part is where I identify with Jonah over and over again. The Lord calls me to follow Him, and I hide. Hide… from my omniscient Father. There’s an idea, Carissa. Keep that one up, see how long it lasts.

I’ll save you some trouble – I have learned time after time that you cannot hide from God… and you don’t want to, either. The process of going to Him and allowing Him to do His work may sting as your pride is dissolved and the infection of sin in your heart is washed away, but the Lord offers you ever-constant comfort. No matter what you have done, and no matter what He is asking you to do – no matter how hard that may be – He’s calling out to me and to you.

“Carissa… just come to me. Come home.”

And beloved, what you will find in His arms is forgiveness, grace, and buckets overflowing with second chances. It may sting a little, but it’s worth it. Just come home.

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