Taking a Pass on New Year’s Guilt
If you’re anything like me, just the thought of a new year’s resolution provokes a sense of dreaded guilt – the feeling that you’re only doing it because you’ve already failed in the previous year, and you’re going to end up failing in the next one anyway.
I’m thinking this is not one of those things Jesus was talking about when he was talking about coming to give us abundant lives (John 10:10).
Before we try to make a resolution that will give us a sense of absolution for last year’s failures, let’s stop and acknowledge something painful: we weren’t just failures last year, we’ve been failures all of our lives. We dawdle at work, speak rudely to our spouses, yell at our kids, overeat, lust, judge others, cut people off in traffic – you name it – we’re pros at dropping the ball.
Good news, though, folks: Jesus didn’t come to save us because we were winners – He saved us because we were broken messes in need of Him. And we didn’t stop needing Him just because we started believing in Him.
If you’re looking to change, don’t do it so you can finally be the person you’ve never managed to be after all these years. The love of Jesus is the only thing we will ever need to measure up to any standard that matters. Instead, get quiet sometime in the next couple of days, take the hand of Jesus, and show Him the brokenness that pervades your life. Then invite Him to examine your shame-ridden heart for places where His love is needed.
Instead of hearing that resolution-inducing voice of guilt, you will hear your Savior saying, “If your heart condemns you, don’t worry – I Am Love – and I’m greater than your heart” (1 John 3:20, 1 John 4:8). That kind of grace is what will give you the courage to really change – not for the sake of your fragile ego, but for the sake of the One who loved you first (1 John 4:19).