(As found in the May, 2011 issue of Michigan In Touch)
After listing the great heroes of the faith in chapter 11, Hebrews 12 begins with this grand encouragement: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Ah, yes, “the sin that so easily entangles.” (All sin has that germinal propensity.) The worst part about repeated sins, or even addictions, is the gnawing sense of unworthiness and guilt over failure. We feel cast aside from God’s use and God’s love. With a self-loathing that comes from our inability to meet the expectations of ourselves and others we get stuck in guilt. Wallowing in shame we shrink from the healing and forgiveness that God freely offers.
Philip Yancy wrote of a prostitute’s shameful confession that she had wanted to rape her own sons. She told of her rescue from that lifestyle and sexual addiction by those who loved her unconditionally and shared God’s love with her. She later recounted that God’s grace can heal, but after a moment’s reflection added, “It isn’t easy to be healed.”