Isaiah 53:5 (VOICE) But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him. He endured the breaking that made us whole. The injuries he suffered became our healing.
By design, I operate in the gift of mercy. However, I admit that the person I find it hardest to have mercy on is myself. Other than God, I alone know the depth of my sin. I know my record. I cringe when I see that the thoughts of my heart do not align with the heart of God. Unfortunately, harboring unforgiveness and contempt towards myself is a practiced behavior.
And yet, to be an intercessor, I know all too well about the power of Christ’s atonement. I know that the blood of Christ covers every sin, and it covers them completely. Therefore, my transgressions before God are erased because love keeps no record of wrongs. The battle against sin has been won. My true struggle is making a conscious choice to see myself the way that God now sees me; I am in the image of Christ, a perfect, blameless, and beautiful creation of the Eternal One.
One day, as I found myself struggling with self-condemnation, I asked the Father why I always find it so hard to receive His grace and forgiveness for what I view to be my shortcomings. I also recognized that I was prone to making a mountain out of the molehill of my wrongs.
“You have a fear that My grace is going to run out,” the Father said.
I frowned. With my head, I knew that Scripture states that God’s grace is sufficient for us. Christ’s sacrifice will always be enough. We will never run out of grace. And yet my heart struggled to accept this truth. The Father was right—I walked around with an unconscious fear that I would one day reach the end of His grace. Somehow, I felt like my past sins left me little room for error in the present.
“I guess every time I see where I’m falling short, I also see that there’s a cost,” I said. I found it hard to be patient with myself when my inability to conform to Christ’s image required constant atonement. It seemed like the Cross was that much nearer, and I felt like I was constantly adding another stripe upon my Savior’s back.
“Yes, it does cost something,” the Father said, agreeing with me. But then, in the Spirit, I could feel His love wrap around me, almost like He was picking me up and gathering me into His arms. “But just think about it—when you really love someone, do you ever think about what it costs to love them? Are you keeping a tally, afraid you will run out of love to give them?”
I smiled, reflecting on how easy it is to love someone in their brokenness when I am operating in mercy. No, I never think about the cost. When you love someone, they are worth the price. All I can think about is how much I love that person. And in that moment, I could understand that God felt the same way about me. I could understand why He is so patient and long-suffering in the face of my brokenness.
Yes, there is a cost for my past and present sin. A price was also paid to heal me of soul wounds that others inflicted upon me. New mindsets and healing don’t come overnight, no matter how much we wish they did. But God’s grace is enough for us. In fact, in light of the Cross, His love is extravagant. Through the atoning transaction at Calvary, Christ demonstrated with His death that our redemption was worth the price.
1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (TPT) Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (VOICE) and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.