Don’t waste any time doubting Mercy!
John’s gospel account provides an interesting detail after describing Jesus’ first Resurrection appearance in the Upper Room. It says:
‘A week later his disciples were again inside and (this time!) Thomas was with them.’
A week later!
Think about that for just a moment. For an ENTIRE WEEK, all the other disciples were completely losing their minds with joy that Jesus was really truly ALIVE… more alive than EVER — and yet for that same whole first Easter week, Thomas doubted.
“There’s NO WAY Jesus is alive. There’s NO WAY this can be true…”
St. Thomas was wasting time doubting Mercy!
How many of us doubt that we’ve really been forgiven by God?
St. Thomas only doubted for 8 days… but here’s the sad reality:
So many people will go DECADES unconvinced that Jesus really does love them and really has forgiven them. So many poor souls live year after year after year refusing to believe that they can move on. That God’s grace is sufficient. That their sins have been totally conquered by the Risen Lord.
This is no way to live. In fact — It’s a huge waste of time!
Doubting Thomas gets a pretty bad rep, but he only wasted 8 days doubting mercy.
How long has it been for you?
St. Paul teaches us that “if Christ has not been raised… you are still in your sins.” But the good news we can and ought to believe with our whole heart is this:
Jesus IS raised from the dead. You have been forgiven. Mercy is here. It is available.
It’s time to accept this truth. To really believe in it!
So, on this Divine Mercy Sunday, I’d like to give you all FIVE simple ways to not waste ANY MORE TIME doubting the Lord’s Mercy… five basic rules that will, by God’s grace, give you the freedom to accept the truth — that Christ’s Mercy really is alive and well, and immediately available to each one of us:
- Don’t be shocked by your sin. It is a huge waste of time to stomp around saying to yourself ‘WHY DID I DO THAT?… HOW DID THIS HAPPEN AGAIN? THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!’Actually it’s very believable.
You’re a sinner.
I’m a sinner.
We are prone to sin in all sorts of ways. Terrible ways! “But for the grace of God, there go I!” Are we so shocked by this? It is very prideful to think that sin is unthinkable for us! So don’t waste time being shocked by your sin — Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the deep roots of your sins. The memories, the wounds, the attachments, the past choices and ingrained habits that hold you bound.
- Don’t be worried, dragged down or discouraged by your sins. This a total waste of time and energy! Reject discouragement wherever it crops up! Be JOYFUL instead! Yes, I really mean that — strive to remain joyful, even after you sin. ESPECIALLY after you sin… Stubbornly remind yourself that as the Scripture says, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”
- Don’t beat yourself up after you sin. This is a colossal WASTE of time, guys. Being truly sorry for committing a sin doesn’t mean berating yourself and slumping into self-imposed misery and depression. This sort of attitude brings no joy to God. “Woe is me… I’m such a loser. I’m so stupid for doing this same thing. Poor poor me. Now I need to be mad at myself all day. I’ll never be free. I’ll never be able to stop doing this…”Sound familiar at all?
Let me ask you this: Do you seriously think YOUR sin can stop Jesus? Really? I mean… what makes your sin so special? This is pride once again, my friends. Accepting mercy is true humility. Beating yourself up saying: “No, no… MY SIN is worse… MY SIN is too evil… MY SIN is too terrible for God to forgive me! I have to fix myself… earn back God’s love…” This is a lie straight from Hell. Believe me when I say, it is a WASTE of time. And to be honest, it only proves how much you love yourself, not how much you love God.
Instead, always remember that God never beats you up after you sin. He’s not accusing you. He’s not slapping you on the wrist with a ruler. He’s not angry. No!!! Instead, His heart is broken and all He wants to do is invite you to come and be healed by His Mercy. It is the enemy… the devil… who aggressively accuses and beats you up after a sin. That’s not what your heavenly Father does. Remember Jesus’ words to St. Faustina: “The greater the sinner, the greater the right… to My mercy!” Believe it or not, your sinfulness ATTRACTS God and His Mercy to you… it does not repulse Him.
- Don’t be scrupulous about your sin. What a monumental waste of time this is! Scrupulosity is not humility, it’s yet again pride revisited. Scrupulosity is when you think it’s all up to you to correctly, properly, and perfectly identify each and every sin in its entirety, legalistically and ritualistically categorizing all your countless sins into whether or not they are mortal or venial… mechanically accounting for every single stumble, every fault… until pretty much everything you do feels sinful. And if you DON’T do all of this perfectly, then the jig is top and God will most certainly reject you. What an exhausting and tiresome exercise!Not to mention, notice where all the pressure is in this scenario…. YOURSELF. Scrupulosity is all about “me, myself, and my sin.” What a terrible waste of time!
Instead, surrender yourself to God. Make it ALL about Him! You have nothing to fear. The Holy Spirit will convict you of your sins. You don’t have to be a meticulous, anxious shopkeeper of your own soul. The Lord cares more about the state of your soul than you do. If you have a friendship with Him, He will help you to know your real sins and help you to confess them worthily and well…
- Don’t make light of your sin! Mercy is only mercy because sin is really sin. Forgiveness means nothing if choosing to disobey God doesn’t matter very much at all. If we just dismiss guilt. No, we need to be real. We need to be brutally honest about our real, actual accountability we have before God and our neighbor. We make grace cheap and mercy meaningless when we reduce Jesus’ forgiveness down to a bland lenience of everything and anything.Laxity is NOT mercy.
Apathy toward evil is NOT mercy.
Mercy makes a sincere assessment of the gravity of the wrong committed, and then we allow the Lord to say to us: “You are forgiven. Now go, and sin no more.”
Now, if after all this, you are still hesitating… if you’re still not sure if you’re ready to believe that God really can and will forgive you, then listen to this AMAZING quote that comes from the spiritual autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church:
“Even if I had on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Savior… No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace.”
This is the supernatural confidence we can have in God’s Mercy!
This is the confidence with which we can march into the confessional!
When Jesus appeared to his apostles in the Upper Room, he breathed on them saying:
“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive ARE forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
This is the origin of the Sacrament of Reconciliation — When the ordained priest pronounces those words of absolution: “I absolve you from your sins” — IT HAPPENS. It really does! Every time! We don’t leave the confessional as losers who had to go back to confession for the same old sins yet again — NO we leave the confessional VICTORIOUS. Our sins are wiped away forever and ever!
So don’t waste any more time doubting if your sins really are forgiven. Jesus himself said they were. And you can trust what Jesus says!
“Here — touch My wounds,” he says. “Put your hand here in My side, stick your fingers into the nail marks — See for yourself that Mercy is real. That Forgiveness is within your reach — You can TOUCH it! I want you to receive it!”
And when we finally come to believe — really believe and know — that we are loved, known, and forgiven… then we can drop to our knees, and with St. Thomas, and the other apostles, and with every other wicked sinner turned glorious saint, we will reply to the Resurrected Lord with total confidence:
“My Lord and my God.”