Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15, 16 NIV)
I can associate with Paul when he says he feels as though he is the chief of sinners. I feel like I’m constantly letting God down. I struggle daily with guilt of past mistakes, failures. My greatest fear is that my instability mentally/emotionally has warped or harmed my kids. I’ve told Ronda before I wake up each knowing two things will happen that day: 1. I will look at each of my boys and her at least once and be reminded of how lucky I am and how much I love them. 2. I will feel guilty for past failures.
I have never taken notice of the follow up verse here, Paul may be the chief sinner but he is extended grace as an example to others. Kinda like a, ‘if I can save this guy I can save anyone’ from God. Right at this moment that brings me comfort because it makes me feel the same way. If God can redeem my mess of a life, then he can redeem anyone. Not to mention the fact he saved and used Paul too.
Honestly, those feelings of guilt are almost gone. I wake each day aware of the grace God has offered and that each day I must choose to accept it and live in it. Rob Bell says in Love Wins, that many people choose hell right here right now. I can choose to live in that hell or I can choose to live beyond it. I choose to live beyond it. To accept grace, to be redeemed, to move forward and forget what is behind me.
Paul and I may be chief sinners but we are also chief examples of God’s grace.