by Arleen Jennings
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Generally, people who live in guilt or condemnation abstain from anything that involves healthy pleasure. To inflict pain by the denial of a fulfilling hobby or enjoyable activity makes them believe they are appeasing God. Being creative is fun, and to have fun is unacceptable to the condemned soul. This kind of thinking traps the individual in a perpetual cycle of diminishing self-worth, overshadowing hope and keeping them from the source of help. Their heads hang down and nothing seems worthwhile. This feeling also keeps the mind consumed with thinking of ways to become more worthy of God’s love. Self-condemnation prevents people from accepting the power of the cross and the forgiveness that comes through true repentance. Dead-works or feeling sorry for ourselves does not make our relationship with God pure again. Paul declared in Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”
King David sinned when he fell into adultery with Bathsheba and then, caught in a whirlwind of desperation, he had her husband killed in battle. The repercussions of these actions could have destroyed him, throwing him into the depths of despair and condemnation. David was at a crossroad in his life. Would he stifle the talent God had given him or would he repent and write a psalm? The answer is found so humbly put in Psalm 51. David made his way past harm, failure, and disappointment, and came to God with a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. In a state of sincere repentance, he asked God, the Creator of the universe, to create once again.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit." Psalm 51:10-12
David understood God’s willingness to forgive and His ability to heal the past, to create anew and give a second chance. God is in the business of making clean hearts. We must believe in the power of mercy and the importance of going forward in newness of life. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
Sin, or feeling un-forgiven, stops creative flow in our lives. When David asked God to create a clean heart, he was not only asking God to restore communion, but also to make him useful again. Read what Psalm 51:13 says, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” After David’s heart was made right before God, he began to let his light shine once more and witnessed to others about God’s redeeming love.
Self-reproach hinders the birth of inspiration. It can add to insecurities that already grip our souls, especially if we feel condemnation from others. We may conclude that we don’t have anything to offer people who are more worthy or more righteous. We not only keep ourselves from the blessing of creative actions, but others cannot benefit from our artistic expression, either. While caught in self-pity, there’s no attempt to see the needs of others or to find innovative ways to encourage them through their own pain and disappointments. God can use our past to help others find their future. If you are stuck in the quicksand of remorse, it’s time to pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
If you have not repented of something—you should feel convicted and the need to repent as soon as possible. But if you have sincerely asked for God’s forgiveness, then you’re forgiven and your sin forgotten. God wants you to forget the past, live in the light of His word, and experience a more fruitful future.
Copy Write ~ Arleen Jennings
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