Elizabeth Rice Handford Reminds Us God Will Be Faithful in 2022
In the comics this week Blondie asked Dagwood, “Did you make any New Year’s resolutions, dear?”
O.K., I admit it. I still read the comics. We called them the fnnny papers when I was a child, and I felt sorry for Dagwood even then.
“New Year’s resolutions?” Dagwood answered. “Nope. I decided to skip it this year. I want to see what it’s like to have a guilt-free year.”
Lots of luck with that idea, Dagwood. You’re going to be surprised to find that whether you make resolutions or not, you’re going to feel guilt this year. It’s part of the human condition. No matter how sincere we are, no matter how honorably we intend to act, we will fail, and with failure comes guilt and shame. We may try to ignore it, but somehow the sadness of our failures creeps into our hearts.
But that’s not a bad thing, uncomfortable as it feels. Properly handled, our acceptance of guilt has sweet consequences. A line from the song, Amazing Grace, expresses it well:
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.
Admitting that we’ve failed, that we’ve done wrong, helps us to realize we need God’s grace. There’s nothing we can do to change ourselves. Our guilt drives us to admit we need a Savior. We desperately need Someone who willingly takes our guilt upon Himself, having given His life to pay for our guilt, and then welcomes into His holy presence. So our feelings of guilt are actually a gift of grace from God. It’s His continuing grace that offers to wipe the slate clean, so that we don’t have to face punishment for any of our sins. Jesus paid the price for all of our wrongs, all of them.
That doesn’t mean you ignore a guilty feeling. If you’ve wronged someone, you need to make it right, of course, if possible. Certainly ask forgiveness of someone you’ve hurt. Then you take God at His Word, and accept His gift of forgiveness. What if you still feel guilt? I suggest reading out loud Romans 7:21 through 8:1:
It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
What a promise to claim as we face the trials and uncertainties of the New Year! There is no condemnation—no condemnation!—for those who belong to Christ Jesus.