1 John 1:5-2:6

I once knew a woman who went to see a therapist because she and her husband were considering divorce. The woman had been cheating on her husband for several months. She tearfully told the therapist on her first visit that she felt so guilty. The therapist said to her, “well, you are guilty.” This woman had done something wrong. It was natural and good for her to feel remorse. Those feelings plus the therapist’s accepting attitude made it possible for the woman to move forward and make a change.

As far as I see it, there are two things that all human beings have in common. We all mess up and God loves us in spite of it. Experiencing remorse is only half of the equation toward making amends. If we confess what we did, but stay in a place of feeling bad about ourselves and unworthy of God’s love or someone else’s, then we miss the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. It is that gift which leaves us with a grateful heart, which in turn gives us momentum to change. Recognizing that we ALL make mistakes is what helps us relate to others; remembering that we ALL are loved even when we make mistakes, helps us reach out to others with a grateful heart and show them the love and acceptance we have experienced ourselves.

Prayer: Dear God, help me remember that your love is present and always available, without strings, without regard to anything I do. I don’t know why that is some days, but I am so grateful. You know that I will mess up and move away from you, but still you stay put, waiting with open arms. Thank you for Jesus who knows my human heart and, when necessary, whispers in your ear, “This one’s having a tough time of it. Let’s pull her in closer.” Amen.

Eleanor Nurney