Free from Condemnation

As a couple was driving their trailer through dry northern California, they felt a tire blow and heard the scrape of metal against pavement. The sparks ignited the deadly 2018 Carr Fire—a wildfire that burned nearly 230,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and resulted in the deaths of several people.

            When survivors heard how the couple were overcome with grief, they formed a Facebook page to show “grace and extend kindness . . . for the shame and despair” enveloping them. One woman wrote: “As someone that lost their home to this fire—I need you to know my family [doesn’t blame you], nor [do] any of the other families that lost homes in our community. . . . Accidents happen. I really hope these kind messages ease your burden. We will all get through this together.”

 Condemnation, our fear that we’ve done something unredeemable, can cannibalize the human soul. Thankfully, the Scriptures reveal that “if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts” (1 John 3:20). Whatever our hidden shame, God is greater than all of it. Jesus calls us to the healing act of repentance (if needed) or simply unmasks the shame consuming us. Then, encountering divine redemption, we “set our hearts at rest in his presence” (v. 19).

Whatever our regrets over things we wish we could undo, God draws us near. Jesus smiles at us and says, “Your heart is free.”

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