“By Your strong arm You redeemed Your people,” Psalm 77:15
The other day my seven year old daughter came home from school with a self-inflicted bite mark on her arm. When we asked her why she did it she replied, “I don’t know”. But we knew. You see when it comes to learning, especially reading, she has very little confidence in her ability to do what is asked of her. She avoids the task as long as she possibly can and then when she can’t avoid it any longer she attempts it, but with no confidence in her ability to succeed. Then when she doesn’t feel like she has succeeded she punishes herself. Biting.
As a mom it’s heartbreaking to watch your beloved child struggle with something so much that they injure themselves because they feel like they’ve failed you. Obviously we’re working very closely with the wonderful teachers and staff at her school to resolved this issue. Her teacher is phenominal and I KNOW that he has done, and is doing, everything in his power to help her. In fact, he’s been able to do more for her this year than anyone before him. And I thank God every day for that.
This morning as I drove my daughter to school we prayed for her day. You know what her beautiful seven-year-old soul prayed for? That “no one would make it a bad day” for her. I smiled in the front seat, does she know that I tell my students at least once a day, “Only YOU have control over your emotions and how you react to them. No one else has the power to make you angry or hurt. No one else has the power to make you say or do something you shouldn’t. You have control over you. Period.”
As I pulled away from the school, tears blurring my vision I prayed for God to help her stop hurting herself for being less than perfect. And WHAM, realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m getting the opportunity to see myself from God’s eyes! I know women. I know how we work and how we think and how we LOVE to beat ourselves us for our imperfect houses and our less than model-material bodies and especially our inability to be the perfect mom. We see our inability to be perfect and we bite ourselves in the arm for it. We mentally berate ourselves often to tears because we’ve not been able to live up to our own impossibly high standards. And you know what that does? It breaks our Father’s heart! It’s not our fault that we aren’t perfect! There is absolutely nothing we can do about our humanity, other than accept the fact that we are human. We are filled with inabilities and imperfections and THAT’S OK! Does that mean we should stop striving to be better? Absolutely not. But it does mean that when we fall short of the glory of God we need to remember Romans 3:22-25 “There is no difference: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.”
If you grew up in church I bet you heard the first part of that verse a thousand times. But if you never read it for yourself in context I bet you never knew the rest of the story did you! I know I didn’t. You see that’s Satan’s favorite verse to use to beat us up. He loves to put a period where God put a comma. In the original Greek that is all ONE sentence!
Yes. We are human. We’re going to mess up. We are going to fall short of the glory of God time and time and time again. Does that mean that we should stay put on the ground? Never! Why? Because we are JUSTIFIED! To be justified means that when we accept the gift of God’s Grace through Jesus it’s “just as if I’d” never sinned. Beloved, stop biting yourself. Stop letting Satan trick you into biting yourself. You are justified by Jesus’ free gift of Grace!