Job 40:1; 41:11 (NLT)
Then the LORD said to Job, “Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine.”
Especially in our Western culture, we like to pay our own way. We don’t like accepting gifts if we cannot reciprocate. We establish elaborate scales to balance debt and social obligations, keeping track of who owes whom what and how much.
This policy of social balance can make it difficult for us to accept God’s gift of grace because we cannot pay for it. There is nothing we can offer God that God needs—not our help, our good deeds, our prayers, our sacrifices, or even our love. God seeks relationship with us out of his great desire, not need. God’s perfect wholeness frees God to love and forgive us without strings because our disobedience does not damage or diminish God in any way. His love for us remains constant and intact no matter how we behave.
When we consider our sin, we may resist this notion of God’s unconditional grace. Instead, we may try to earn God’s forgiveness and balance the debt scale with regular payments of self-punishment. We heap ourselves with guilt and shame and self-recriminations. We deny ourselves joy. We slip away from God and the offer of grace, ashamed because the debt scale still weighs so heavily against us.
God, however, subscribes to a different policy of accountability. Instead of wanting us to balance the debt scale with compensating behavior, God removes the scale completely. By God’s account, the debt has already been paid with the blood of Jesus.
What God desires is to reopen the channel between us that sin and guilt have closed off. God does not ask us to pay but rather to receive—to receive love and mercy and assurances of our worth. If we can accept such grace, then we can accept the reality that we are flawed and weak and utterly dependent on God’s mercy. Yet we need not be ashamed, for we also learn that God’s love for us is strong and sure and can bear the weight of all our sin.
FATHER, regret can be a terrible weight on my mind and heart. I know I cannot lift it by punishing myself. Thank you for your promise to remove my guilt and forgive my wrongdoing. Teach me how to release my notions of accountability and surrender control of my debt to your perfect solution in Jesus. Help me also to remove the debt scale from my relationships and to offer grace and mercy as freely as you offer them to me.
Psalm 25:6-7; Romans 6:23
Is there a regret you have not been able to release to God?