Inspired by Ezra 9:5-15
“O my God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” Ezra 9:6 (NRSV)
It starts small. A little indulgence here, a little loosening of your self-control there. A little cover-up to avoid some minor unpleasantness, a little more indulgence because there are so few pleasures in life right now, and then, all of a sudden, you’re in deep. Your life seems to have spiraled out of control; your own behavior has hurt the people you love most and your closest relationships are strained or damaged. You can’t understand how things went so wrong, because you didn’t do anything terrible; it was just a little thing here and a little thing there, until you’ve become someone you simply don’t recognize anymore. But you know that you did it; you made your choices, these are the consequences. It’s your fault. How can you ever expect to be forgiven when you so willingly walked away from God and all that he has given you?
It is in those moments, when we’re in our deepest despair and loneliness, that God in Christ is closest to us. When we know our guilt, when we know our sin, and we know we don’t deserve any help at all, God in Christ gives us his grace. No matter what hurtful things we’ve done or how deeply in trouble we’ve managed to get ourselves, we’re never beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness.
It is because we don’t deserve it that Christ came, and his grace is more than sufficient to cover your sins and encourage you to live the life you were meant to lead, a life that will cause you no shame or embarrassment. Because God will never be too ashamed or embarrassed to call you his own.
Let us pray. Merciful God, you know our guilt and our sin. Embrace us with your love, that we may live in the knowledge that you have wiped away our shame and removed our embarrassment. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.