How many times in my life have I sat down to have a quiet time with the Lord, and I almost couldn't even bring myself to pray because I felt guilty and condemned?
Guilty because of something I had done wrong, or messed up - no matter how big or little. And condemned because I know that God is perfect and sinless, and how could He understand my constant and never ending faults??
How many times have I heard a small voice whisper in my head: "Don't even bother talking to God this time. You've messed up one too many times. You've committed that sin one too many times. How can you even call yourself a Christian?"
Is that God? Are these thoughts - these feelings - from Him?
Romans chapter 8 vs 33-34 asks this same question: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" In other words - "who is going to accuse the children of God?" And you know what is interesting? - the author of Romans (Paul) never gives us the answer to that question. But one thing he does make sure to give us - and that is Who does not accuse us.
"It is God that justifieth"
Not condemns. Not accuses. Not points the finger. But He justifies.
The passage continues:
"Who is he that condemneth?" Again, Paul answers this question by telling us who does NOT condemn. "It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who...also maketh intercession for us."
Christ, Who has shed His blood for no reason other than perfect love for His wayward children, is risen from the dead - not to condemn those He has died for, but to make intercession for them. He is fighting against the accusations that are hurled at us!
Of course, I know in my head that Satan is "the accuser of the brethren." I know that Christ makes intercession for us. I know He loves us. But do I really know it and believe it with all my heart? And then let that realization affect my attitude and my approach toward my Father?
It is never God that stands between me and a close, intimate relationship with Him.I will close with a paraphrase of one of my favorite stories in the Gospels...
A woman is brought to Jesus by a group of big shot, swaggering, hypocrite Pharisees. "Master," they begin, (though it's interesting to note how very much Christ was NOT their master) "Master, here is a woman we have caught in the very act of adultery."
"Moses told us that a woman like this is to be stoned. But what do you have to say about it?"
Then they sat back and waited. Doubtless, they assumed they had really caught Jesus this time. Doubtless, they were impressed with their clever thinking. How was the "Master" going to wriggle out of this one?
But to their surprise, He didn't say anything at all. Instead, He stooped down and wrote in the dust.
"Master," they pressed, "what do you think?! Should she be stoned as the law commands?"
Then standing up straight, He looked each one in the eye and said "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone."
And He stooped again, and wrote once more in the dust. Oh, what I would give to know what He wrote!!
And one by one, each Pharisee, so righteous on the outside, and so sinful within, slipped away in shame.
Jesus straightened, and looked at the woman. "Where are your accusers?" He asked. "Does no one condemn you?"
"No, Lord," she replied.
Then the words of the Master rang out as a trumpet call upon her ears:
"And neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."
I love my Lord because He does not condemn me.