Carrie DeKlyen was diagnosed with brain cancer in April. Clinical trials and chemotherapy would have ended the life of her unborn child. So Carrie chose to give birth to her daughter, appropriately named Life Lynn. She died three days later at the age of thirty-seven.
A reporter asked Nick DeKlyen how he will explain his wife’s death to his daughter one day. The grieving father and husband answered, “I’ll tell her that mommy did this because she loves you and she is in Heaven and we’ll see her again—soon, soon.”
As long as Life Lynn lives, will she need to doubt her mother’s love?
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You and I are in precisely the same position. Our Father sent his Son to die on our cross so we could live. He paid our debt and purchased our salvation. He has forgiven every sin we have confessed to him (1 John 1:9), removing our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), burying it in the depths of the deepest sea (Micah 7:19), and remembering it no more (Isaiah 43:25).
Here’s the problem: many of us don’t see our sin as God does.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis noted: “Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly.” Guilt is a tool Satan uses against good people. The more we acknowledge our sin and need for repentance, the guiltier we can be made to feel about it. Long after we have confessed our sin and been forgiven, we can still suffer from the residue of guilt.
The answer is to use our sin as a tool for our sanctification. When we confess our failure and receive God’s forgiveness, we can then consider the depth of our Father’s love for us. We can remember with gratitude the suffering his Son endured for our salvation. We can ask his Spirit to empower us so that we do not fall to such temptation again.
Charles Spurgeon noted that “three R’s” contain “the sum and substance” of God’s word. What are they? Ruin, redemption, and regeneration. After we confess our ruin and claim God’s redemption, we’re not finished until we move to regeneration.
Our spiritual broken bones can mend and become even stronger than before. The sins that separated us from our Father can become the bridge that draws us even closer to him.
And our scars can become our service to others. David could write Psalm 51, his powerful hymn of confession and restoration, only after his sin with Bathsheba and his pardon by God’s grace. Paul could lead sinners to Jesus only after he became the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). There is no more powerful witness to our skeptical culture than a guilt-ridden sinner freed by divine grace.
What guilt is plaguing your soul this morning? Will you claim God’s grace wherever you need it most? Will you share the gospel of grace with a hurting soul today?
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This post originally appeared on The Denison Forum and was republished with permission.