A wise friend of mine recently reminded me of a very crucial decision we each face every day . . . accept God’s grace, or live in self-imposed guilt over mistakes or things we perceive as failures.

Unfortunately, the landscape of my soul is littered with shards of guilt. The voices in my head left over from childhood, perhaps strategically placed there by satan himself from time to time, lie in wait to reimpose the shackles of shame our Lord so lovingly removed long ago.

Perfection . . . impossible, yet strived for all the same. Home, relationships, job, leadership, teaching, even depth of relationship with my Lord. O God, forgive me. Teach me again what it means to live immersed in your grace, helplessly dependent on you in all things.

O friends, don’t ever underestimate our need to maintain a balance between criticism and praise with our families and with others. Between blame and teachable moments filled with grace. Between high, sometimes inappropriate expectations and prayer-filled hopes for the formation of beautiful souls able to embrace God’s gifts and purposes. And don’t ever forget to stay centered on our Savior.

Remember the only perfection to be found in human form was in Jesus. And the grace His ultimate sacrifice released into the human race was enough. For you and for me. It embraces our successes, and covers our failures. It moves us from the heaviness of guilt into the freedom of a life renewed. All the while, forming in each of us a picture of God’s great grace and mercy to pass on to those around us.

So what will it be this day, guilt or grace? The choice is yours . . . .

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need . . . let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 4:16 and 10:22-23