Monday, March 6, 2017

He Knoweth Our Frame

This is an article that I wrote 2 years ago, but it is every bit as relevant still today. I hope you take it to heart.

He Knoweth Our Frame…

I turned 50 recently, not even a month ago, and I’ve been thinking of lessons I’ve learned. It’s not like I know everything; let’s face it: I’m not “there” yet and never will be. I’ll always be learning and growing, and that’s a good thing; the alternative would be stagnancy, apathy, and…death.

But in my half century of life (gulp!), I’ve had the privilege of learning a few things, and for that I am truly thankful. One thing I came to understand years ago has served me well, and I am so grateful to God for blessing me with this understanding.

It’s based on a scripture that I came across a long time ago that came to be so important to me, it had a pivotal influence on my entire life. I’ve had occasion to share it with others at times, and hopefully it made an impact on their lives too.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

We all make mistakes in life, we all mess up, make poor choices, make the wrong decisions, etc. We’ve hurt others, done wrong to them, whether deliberately or incidentally, and when that happens, we need to go to them and own up, ask for forgiveness, and seek reconciliation.

The goal is to restore relationships, through honesty, repentance, and forgiveness. I’m not really going to get into that, seeking forgiveness from others. Most people, even if they struggle with it, are willing to forgive. But even as hard as that may be for some, sometimes forgiving ourselves is the hardest part. Sometimes we just can’t get past the fact that we’ve done something wrong.

And that very fact can hinder our relationships…with God, others, and ourselves. Yes, I did say with ourselves.

Our relationships are all directly linked to how we view ourselves, and that is impacted negatively when all we can do is fret about the things we’ve done wrong, to hold those infractions against ourselves. It’s like a constant battering of our self-esteem, breaking it down little by little.

And we do it to ourselves, by not forgiving ourselves.

I happen to have been an expert at that. I spent years going through periods where I would lay awake at night, thinking in the dark, and it seemed every bad thing I’d ever done would come to mind, making me feel worthless and hopeless.

I didn’t understand at the time how this was affecting me, working against me; all I could see was that I had made so many mistakes in my life, and as time went on, there were so many more to think about and assault my sense of self-worth. I’m not going to argue about that term, deemed derogatory and un-Christ-like by some Christians.

Because from what I read in my bible, God loves us, thinks enough of us, that He sent His son to die on the cross to pay for our sins. And if the Creator, the great I Am, looks on us and loves us enough to sacrifice His own son for us, then I believe we should value ourselves enough to forgive ourselves the myriad mistakes we make in our lives.

And because that seems to be so hard for some of us, we need to look at ourselves the way God does, see ourselves through His eyes. And thus, the verse:

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

God sees our mistakes; He knows all about them. He knew every one of them before we ever thought of them or committed them. We know that from Jeremiah 1:5, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

And yet He still loves us, He still has the offer of forgiveness and salvation on the table. He still sees us as having worth. And therein lies our hope.

None of this negates the fact that we are sinful creatures in need of forgiveness from a holy God; indeed, it exemplifies the fact that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

Why? Again, the verse:

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

Our hope is right there, wrapped up in that verse of scripture: God knows that we are dust. He recognizes our humanity. He knows and understands the frailty of our humanness, our propensity to fall and stumble in life.

And therefore, He offers forgiveness. He doesn’t hold it against us; instead, He offers us grace and mercy.

If God is willing to do that, who are we to withhold the same forgiveness from ourselves? Should we not extend that same grace towards ourselves, laying a hindrance, a stumbling block, a very trap for ourselves with our lack of forgiveness? Good gravy marie, no!

We should follow His example, and see ourselves how God sees us, as His children who He made, who have worth and value. His children, who are dust.

It isn’t a bad thing to have a healthy sense of self-worth. It allows us to move forward, to crawl out of that pit of self-loathing and despair, and keep striving towards being the people God wants us to be. To be learning, growing, each becoming who He’d have us to be.

And we can’t do that when we’re bogged down in a mire of regrets, rehashing our mistakes and failures. We can only do that by remembering how God sees us, and forgiving ourselves as He does.

Once again, I’d like to leave you with that very important verse. Please, take it to heart.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

Photo: Memo Akten