Love in Return for Love

Love in Return for Love

You did not choose me but I chose you. John 15:16

God wants us to love God. That is the vulnerability of our God. Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Guilt is the idol hardest to break down.” Guilt may be our idol, especially if we cling to it in our hearts. We mull over past events, somehow hoping that by rethinking them they might become good events. We relive all the feelings around our poor choices, wishing we’d said or done otherwise. But trying to rethink the “bad” past into a “good” past not only doesn’t work, it makes the guilt greater. It is a very difficult challenge, to let go of the past, because your particular past is yours alone and is true for you. Thus it becomes like an idol that you must carry with you at all times.

But the guilt must go, otherwise you are indirectly competing with God. God is saying, “I have always loved you and I love you now. I want you to receive my love.” And you and I are saying “you can’t love me, God, because I’m so bad. By thinking about my past I will prove to you that I am beyond forgiveness.”

Inspire me, Loving God, to give up my shame so as to return to you in perfect trust.

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