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  • Writer's pictureTrey Harper

One Sin Away

Before I could read, I had this image of a God that was all powerful, able to help me with any problem and protect me from any evil. That image of God remained mostly unchanged until I was around 10 years old. Then it gradually started to change as I developed an understanding that God was not only able to protect but could punish me. This started my back and forth relationship with God, one with highs and lows depending on how I behaved.

I would go through stretches of life looking for something that would make me feel right with God, secure, loved and protected instead of fearful, lost and waiting on punishment. I would attend several different churches and explore the way that they worshipped, hoping to find the answers that would satisfy me and give me peace. I met many loving and kind folks along the way.

I’m not sure when or how it happened but over the years I gradually would revert into my former ways of dealing with sin and God. I would go through my days fighting against the temptations of the world…some days I would win the battle and feel close to God and some days I would fail, and I would feel the shame of the sin. I would pray for forgiveness and ask God for mercy but in the back of my mind a voice would be saying you don’t deserve forgiveness and the voice was right I don’t deserve forgiveness but I would ask for it anyways. Then the thought would come…have I used up all the grace that God allotted for me? Am I just one sin away from being unforgiveable?

I find comfort in the scriptures that tell us about God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”)

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Luke 18:13-14 “but the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, ‘God forgive me, a sinner!’ I tell you; this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

-Charles Burchfield


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