stupidity and redemption

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I am a champion when it comes to screwing things up.

I have an innate skill for overreacting, thinking too much, missing cues, and harboring ridiculous wounds. And it completely sucks.

Every time I find myself in the woefully familiar space of interpersonal derailment, I want to kick myself or run my head into a wall. I’m stubborn. And I feel too much. And it gets me into stupid spaces.

The text of this morning’s message at my church was Lamentations 3. The first twenty or so verses are an exhaustive list of the ways God has humbled and tormented the writer. Lines like “He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; He has made my chains heavy; though I call and cry for help, He shuts out my prayer…” underscore the place of utter loss in which he has found himself.

The next twenty verses, however, look back at the faithfulness of the Father.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” he writes.

After all of the pain has been detailed. After all of the woes have been uttered. After a portrait of distance from God and suffering at the hand of the Creator has been vividly crafted…

The writer of Lamentations pauses to proclaim the faithfulness of his Maker.

21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in Him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
    to the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone in silence
    when it is laid on him;
29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.

31 For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
32 but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion
    according to the abundance of His steadfast love;
33 for He does not afflict from His heart
    or grieve the children of men.

I am a champion of stupidity. My skills of saying the wrong thing and reacting incorrectly are clear and evident. It would be ridiculous for me to claim that me putting my foot in my mouth even begins to compare with what the first part of Lamentations 3 describes…but the hope I find in God’s faithfulness is no less real.

God’s enduring love never ceases. I can’t exhaust it through foolishness or misguided moments. HIS love endures.

God’s mercy never comes to an end. I can’t escape it. Mercy is God’s very nature. And every new day offers a fresh opportunity to see it manifest in my life.

God’s faithfulness is great. I can’t fathom how true He is…how unchanging…how – even in my faithless, stubborn, rebellion – HIS faithfulness doesn’t diminish.

I am a champion when it comes to screwing things up. Today, I overreacted to a comment made in jest and derailed the rest of the afternoon. Whether there is legitimacy to my offense or not, I handled it wrong.

Tonight, I am thankful for second chances and third chances and…

Tonight, I am hopeful that the faithful mercy of God will pour into my relationships and bring restoration. Tonight, I am hopeful that my best friend will forgive me…again.

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