Don't Beat Yourself Up So Much
Wednesday - May 13th
Today's Scripture to Read: Psalm 103:10-11
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
"That's $998, $999, and $1,000." The man handed me the final few dollar bills. He was sending $2,000 to his sister in Baltimore via Western Union. He counted the money out in front of me in two stacks of $1,000 each made up mostly of one hundred dollar bills, a few twenties, and ten ones. I then counted each stack out in front of him. All went well. The transfer went through and was ready for his sister to pick up at a store with Western Union in Baltimore. That is, it went well, until...
It went well until we closed out the cash register at the end of the day. My boss, the store owner, had been out when I put the Western Union transfer through the system. I was alone in the store when the man came in to send the money to his sister. During my years in Seminary in the Washington D.C. area, I worked at a Mailboxes Etc (now they are UPS Stores) in Laurel, Maryland. The job worked perfectly with my full morning class schedule. But, my worst day was the day I completed that money transfer to Baltimore. Somehow I got scammed. The man handed me the money, asked for it back to recount it on the counter in front of me, handed it to me, and retook it one last time to count it before finally giving it to me.
I still cannot tell you what he did. But, I can tell you he scammed me out of $1,000. The cash register was exactly that amount off when we closed it out at the end of the day. So, the man had actually given me $1,000, and whoever picked up the money on the other end walked away with $2,000. They picked it up at a location about 45 minutes from our store. Not a bad profit for the scammers! Ugh!
The store owner, Melissa, had been kind to me and flexible with my schedule over the time I had worked there. She and her husband had become friends with Lesli and me. Worse than losing the $1,000 was letting Melissa down. As soon as we figured out my mistake and that they had done this intentionally, Melissa tried to say it would all work out and that I should not worry about it. Not only did I feel like a fool for getting scammed, but I felt awful for losing $1,000 of the store's money.
Melissa kept saying to let it go and we would work it out in the next few days. I couldn't let it go. I rushed to my bank and took out nearly all the money Lesli and I had at the time. After my withdrawal, our account probably had $25-$50. Melissa would not take the money. She could see how much my mistake bothered me. She put her hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said, "Don't beat yourself up so much!"
Little did she know that a pattern throughout my childhood, teen years, and early adult years was to beat myself up over and over again because of my mistakes. The Lord has taught me a lot and grown me in this area. But, it's easy to slip back into the old pattern of holding on to my mistakes and not moving on from them - even when others have. It's easy to beat myself up over my mistakes.
The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 103:10-11, that we experience God's love and grace in that God does not punish us for our sins to the level we deserve. If He does not give us the punishment we should get because of our sin, the things that morally offend His very character, how much more that communicates about our non-moral mistakes and errors. We are human. We make mistakes that may cause problems for us and others. If God willingly forgives us our sins, why can't we let go of our mistakes, lapses in judgment, or unwise choices?
Take a moment today to thank God for his grace that cleanses you of your sins. Then, ask Him to help you let go of the errors and mistakes you have made. Discover how God's grace gives us freedom from the things we harbor in guilt.
Since the God of the universe forgives us in Jesus, we shouldn't beat ourselves up so much. We have His grace!