I came out of quarantine today. It has been two weeks and we still don’t have test results, but we also still don’t have symptoms. So, quarantine is over. I felt a little lighter, stood a little taller, and moved a little freer as I walked down the driveway this morning. The words from one of our praise band songs rang in my ears. “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free…” There is such a feeling of relief when unpleasant times are over. Wouldn’t it be great if every day started with the same sense of renewal as today?
Unfortunately, not every day feels like a new day. Some days feel like a continuation of the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. When things are weighing on us each day seems heavier than the last. That’s the nature of weight. The longer you carry it the heaver it feels.
Some weights we have to carry. The weight of responsibility is one of those things that we can’t just set down like a school backpack. We are responsible for different things throughout our life, and we don’t have the option to just drop the load and walk away. But not every weight needs to be strapped to our backs and carried around for the rest of our lives. The weight of guilt and shame are loads that many carry around unnecessarily. But guilt and shame are such hard loads to set down. Even after we think we’ve put them down we find that we’re still carrying them.
The answer to guilt and shame is confession and repentance. We don’t have the ability to properly atone for the harm that we do. We should do everything that we can to make amends with the ones who we’ve harmed, but even our best efforts don’t properly atone for our sin. Only Jesus can and did do that. Our offenses are not only against each other, they are also against God. God is the only one who can fully set things right. “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). If you want to feel a little lighter, stand a little taller, and move a little freer then confess and repent. Then let these words ring in your ears. “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!