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What Burdens Do You Carry?

     Three turtles were swimming across a pond, one moving more slowly than the others even though he worked harder to keep up. On his back was a large collection of moss and algae, extra baggage built up over time, but the turtle was unaware. Perhaps the struggling swimmer thought that he was just slower than the rest, not as good, didn’t measure up. More likely, he just didn’t think about his struggle at all, accepted his difficulty with quiet resignation, never to be good enough, always slower than his brothers.

      The road of life is never travelled in a straight line. Over the years we experience twists, turns, and falls. We find different ways to deal with our failures and disappointments, calluses and scars covering the wounds. Many bury their burdens in the deep recesses of their minds, while others chatter openly about little else. Hemingway once said that “everyone is broken by life, but they become stronger at the broken places.” He says it better than me. I know from personal experience that he is right. 

“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses

and forsakes them will have mercy." Proverbs 28:13

    Let us each take a moment of introspection, a “checkup from the neck up” as Zig Ziglar would say. What is holding us back, keeping us from a joyful life, making our path harder than it should be? Are we weighed down by sin or guilt from poor choices in our past? Maybe through no fault of our own we suffered misfortune, failure, a tough childhood, and still carry the hurt or damage inside letting it affect our walk in the present.  Some Christians live like that turtle, struggling to keep up and never realizing why. They see themselves as not good enough, less worthy than fellow Christians because of shame or self-pity needlessly carried. Too often we wear the burden of past sins, guilt, and regret instead of looking to the solution, the blood of Jesus!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have

passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

     So how do we find release, shed ourselves of guilt, self-pity or regret? It matters not what you have done in the past. If you will confess it today, then you will be forgiven…for all time. Whatever weighs you down in the present day makes your life’s path harder than it should be! The burdens carried on your shoulders will be taken away (have been taken away), when you turn to God.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9

     God will forgive you of any and all sins so long as you bring them to Him and repent with a contrite heart. The only sin God can't forgive, is the one you won't take to Him! There is no sin too great for God to forgive. “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession."  Titus 2:14

     Not only does God forgive our sins…He FORGETS our sins! He chooses not to remember. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25

     If God feels it best to forget your past, why would you think it better to remember and carry such a burdensome weight on your back? God wants us to forgive ourselves and allow Jesus' blood to wash clean our conscience from all we have done in the past! "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"  Heb 9:14

     We have been adopted by God and proudly wear His name with all the blessings that go with our special title: “Child of God.” If we live our life with hidden guilt or private shame, how can we look forward to His appearing in the Day of Judgment?

” And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and

not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know

that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. 3 1Behold what manner of love

the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1st John

     How do we “abide in Him”?  By living each day with Christ in faith and obedience. If we heed the teachings of the Lord, then there will be no need to hide from Him in shame at His coming… or even now. What a blessing!

     Jesus shared the parable of a son who took half his father’s money and ran away, then returned home in shame. We read in Luke of the compassion of the father for the wayward son: “his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15

     That is how our heavenly Father sees us, welcomes us, forgives us, and loves us even when we struggle with a heavy load of sin on our backs. When we return to Him, He is moved with compassion and welcomes us with a loving embrace.

     Hold your head high! Face the world with strength and joy; after all, you are His child…the child of God! And God’s children are beautiful…and beautiful in His eyes!

Danny Pickett