Soul Smog

One day, as I was caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic, my mind inhaled a dense cloud of “spiritual smog.” Feelings of guilt filtered through my heart like toxic fumes, choking it with regret and raw memories. I was en route to an early morning breakfast, and I hadn’t slept well. Too much on my mind. Too busy. My defenses were low, and the poisonous vapors seeped in.
I recalled a cruel word that I had written about a woman who was now dead. I saw the face of a man, name forgotten, whom I had struck in a moment’s passion. I remembered my failure to witness to a neighbor who later committed suicide. Acts, thoughts, and habits, some only recently confessed to God, came to mind. I felt sick.
Christians are often seized by guilt for sins that are already confessed and forgiven. Like many other believers, I have felt sadness, shame, lingering regret, wafting depression—smog in my soul. It’s one thing to confess sin; it’s another thing to accept forgiveness.
The Psalmist David said, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.” David too lived with regret.
But as I gripped my steering wheel, another of David’s psalms came to mind—Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The distance between east and west is infinity. The two never meet. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “If sin be removed so far, then we may be sure that the scent, the trace, the very memory of it, must be entirely gone.”
I pondered this. When God forgives sin, He forgives it completely—as though it had never occurred.
But when I continue to brood over sin that God has already forgiven, I underestimate His love, doubt His grace, and discount the scope of His pardon. It is as though I fear that the death of Jesus Christ is not adequate, that His blood is too weak to justify me.
Accepting God’s forgiveness, on the other hand, aligns my thinking to God’s Word. It separates my sin from my forgiveness by the distance of infinity.
Psalm 103:12 dispersed my noxious thoughts. As my mind cleared, so did the traffic, and I traveled on with joy.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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