Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conviction and Condemnation

This morning, my Pastor spoke on a topic that I'd never given any real thought to. Now, that, in and of itself, is not uncommon. My faith is back into infancy in so many ways, and I can approach topics in a whole new light now that I am an adult. This was not any different.
He spoke of Condemnation vs. Conviction. As is his calling, he spoke of these two words in very biblical terms, but as I sat, and I listened, my mind sought other ways to view the topic. To explain the difference to someone who is an infant in Christ, or does not yet consider themselves a believer.

Pastor D. spoke of Condemnation being a tool of Satan, and Conviction as one of God. As I scribbled notes frantically, I also began googling the topic. (I'm sure that's a sin in the eyes of some, but I needed to go deeper into the topic at hand. So, yes. I got online on my phone, right there in the sanctuary.) I found the following sentence, and it got me closer to the personal answer I needed; "Condemnation shows you the problem, Conviction shows you the answer!" Good. Ok, I'm nearly there. One who is condemned has no chance at salvation, one who is convicted knows they've erred, but has been shown the path.

AHA MOMENT! Let's look at the criminal justice system. Those who have been found guilty of breaking the law face judgement as a function of our legal system. Those who commit the most heinous of crimes may be condemned to death. No chance of reparation. Others are convicted, and in concept, our jails and prisons are for rehabilitation. They are shown the wrong they have done, and are given the opportunity to move forward along the right path.

Now, the justice system has it's flaws, and is not a perfect mirror of biblical condemnation vs. conviction, but I'm looking at concepts here. These are paintings with broad strokes. I want my walk of faith to be one in which I see the whole picture, and then am blessed and astounded by the detail work that has gone into it. I am not condemned for the sins in my life. I am not perfect. I am flawed, and I will face many failures in my future, just as I have in my past. But, DESPITE those flaws, DESPITE my failures, IN SPITE OF MY SIN, I am not condemned! I am merely convicted. I am driven by God to learn from the mistakes I have made. I can go to Him at any time, and say to Him that I have failed - that I have sinned. And He will say to me "I know. And it will be ok, but going forward, let's not repeat that mistake." Amazing.

One of the areas where I fear I fall short most often is the one that is perhaps the most important tasks I've been given. My role as the mother of my 3 children puts me in a position to influence so many of their decisions. And there are days where my words, or my tone of voice, or my actions leave much to be desired. I find myself trying to condemn myself for my shortcomings. So, tonight, I charge myself, and I challenge you - do not condemn yourself! Condemnation is a tool of the Devil. Instead, be convicted by God. Accept any punishment that is handed down, allow yourself to be humbled, and then allow yourself to be led. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your steps. Open your heart and mind to the Word of God, and rest in the knowledge that you are loved despite the flaws.

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