The Bright Side: No longer bound
Published 8:22 am Monday, April 10, 2023
I was flipping through the pages of my journal this morning and landed on an entry from 2/21/23. I’m not sure what prompted me to write about temptation, but I spilled my thoughts onto lined paper about how temptation has no hold on us. I quoted 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
We are faced with temptations every day. Should I put my phone down and finish my work or watch one more video on Facebook? Should I read scripture or catch up on my Netflix series? Do I resist the urge to snack and obey my Lenten sacrifice or just have one little piece of chocolate after dinner? Do I really need to practice this new skill, or walk the dog again, or donate these clothes instead of selling them, or volunteer my time instead of spending time doing what I want? I have met all of these temptations face to face, struggled with them on a regular basis, and still have a hard time doing what I know in my heart is the right thing to do.
It’s hard to forgive yourself when you know you’ve made a bad choice. There’s no going back to change it, but the feeling that stays with us afterward is almost consuming. Guilt can make a person mad. But we are not bound by the choices we’ve made. We are free to recognize where we messed up, ask for God’s great mercy, and choose to do better moving forward. Falling victim to sin is human nature, but sin cannot hold us captive unless we let it.
I remember my first reiki class with the Mountain Gypsies. The late Cat Young sat in front of me, knowing I had guilt tied tight to my chest, as if my heart were a shoe and guilt were the laces I had double-knotted around it. “When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he saved us all from our sins,” she said, as she stretched her arms out wide. “All of the sins humans have done,” she said as she looked to the end of her right arm, “and all of the sins we have yet to do,” she turned and looked to the end of her left arm, “Christ saved us from every single one of them.”
I’ll never forget what it felt like to finally feel like I could breathe again, for the first time in what seemed like years. I realized I was never defined by my mistakes, shortcomings or bad decisions. When God looks at us, He sees our heart. He sees people who are trying to be the best that they can be, while combating the things that will constantly try and tear us way from Him. For what we need endure, the reward is worth more than we can possibly comprehend. God just asks that we try, that we have good, heartfelt intentions and we give it our best shot, knowing that we will fall and we will need to ask for His help went we have a hard time getting back on our feet.
What a beautiful thing it is to learn from our mistakes, am I right? Because growth is only possible when recognize there is a need for it. And once we get better in one area, we can work on another sector of ourselves that may need some love and attention. So instead of fearing what temptations may come my way, I look at them as a great opportunity to grow, facing them one at a time, grateful that God gives me the chance every day to make decisions that will change my life, and become closer to Him.
Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.