It’s that moment. You just got done sinning. You did what you did was wrong. Or maybe you are already numb and that scares you even more. During the sin, you probably weren’t thinking about it, you might have not remembered or realized its sin. Or you fully knew it and magically pushed that thought out of your head. Now you are sitting quietly, staring at the wall, you mind is blank. You sinned. You did something wrong. It might have been as inconspicuous as a sinful thought. Perhaps a thought of hate, greed, jealousy, pride, or lust. Or it might have been an outward action or a behavior. Maybe even something good that you failed to do. Someone desperately needed help and you ran away because you were lazy or didn’t want to sacrifice your time. Now the guilt and shame is burning a hole inside of you. You feel bad. It’s like you have been here so many times before, and your brain is saying there is really no point to do anything but give up. You just failed. You are a failure. What do you do?
1. Run to Jesus, not away
It’s embarrassing to come to Jesus. You were on a mission to do a good job, to make God proud of you. You wanted to show Him what a good job you are doing, now you are a miserable failure. Now it’s hard to come to him for the millionth time as a wretched letdown. You want to go the other direction. Don’t. Just take a breath, please. Realize God saw this coming. He saw you sinning. He was waiting the whole time. He is waiting even now. You want to run, cry, feel depressed or whatever. Fine, run, but rut run to Him. He will make it better. Even if this is your one billionth failure. Jesus died for all your sins, past, present, and future. He knew how stubborn you are and still loved you. He is waiting still now.
2. Realize it’s about His pain, not your failure
The biggest mistake I make when I sin is to look at myself. I start to think about how I’m not fitting this image/idol I have created myself to be. I start to think “Yuriy you are a failure! You are not as perfect as you are supposed to be.” I start weighing myself on the scales, and I feel a terrible guilt at the fact that I am not good enough to never sin. I want Yuriy to never ever sin, and when Yuriy sins, I feel like Yuriy has failed on Yuriy’s mission. And Jesus weeps. I miss this every time. When you or I sin, the big problem is we personally hurt Jesus! We focus on our bad performance, as if that’s the issue, it is not. When you sin, you crush the Fathers heart. That is the problem of sin, it hurts the Creator. When a husband commits adultery, the problem is not that he fails to be an “exemplary citizen” but that he hurts his wife. This is what we do to Jesus. Realize this.
3. Receive without earning
Everyone will agree that Jesus is better than us. So if Jesus tells me to be nice to my wife, Jesus is going to be way more nicer to my wife. It’s like that old Nike commercial, Jesus can easily turn to me and say “anything you can do I can do better.” Jesus told his disciples that if their brothers sins against them seven times in one day, they ought to fully forgive each time. (I don’t think He means stop at 8, but 7 is the number of completeness in the Bible, so Jesus means eternity). So then, if Jesus tells us to forgive our brother 7 times a day, will He not forgive you that? Of course He will. What stops you from receiving forgiveness from Christ, for personally hurting Him, is your own ego and human expectation. You want to deserve forgiveness, then its easy to understand. If Jesus owes you one, then he should forgive you, and its easy to accept. On the other hand, if it’s all grace, then it’s hard, but accept you must.
4. Restart the daily battle
Back to the trenches. Life is a battle. Begin the fight again (1 Peter 2:11). Often when you sin one time, you feel like you are not perfect anyway, you can’t be without sin, so let’s just give up. You are a sinner anyhow. Wrong. You are chosen for good deeds, you are called to Gods glorious light, you are here to fight sin. It’s a war zone. You will take many hits. You will always take hits. But that’s not how you lose the war. It’s by giving up, by rolling over and playing dead. The minute you stop shooting back is when the war is lost. You may be taking a million hits for 30 years, but if you are shooting back, the war is not lost. One the other hand, if you take a few hits and start moping about how depressing it is, and stop shooting back, the war is lost. You are not called to win this war, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit, but you are called to fight with all your might and trust Jesus for the rest.