"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."
Titus 2:3-5 (ESV)
I have never found it easy to say no when asked to do something. It has often propelled me right into the middle of something I am uniquely unqualified to do. I seem to have this need to please.
However, there is one thing I've been asked to do a number of times, and it amazed even me at how quickly I said no. It is a call to mentoring younger women. The moment the words fall on my ears all I can think of is the ways I have failed. I disqualify myself on the basis of past behavior - feeling there is nothing I have done that is worthy of imitating and therefore nothing I can possibly say.
Just a short while ago I was asked about mentoring again. I responded as I always do - gently, but firmly, declining. This time I could not easily turn off the voices of condemnation that incessantly reminded me of every awful thing I had ever done. I felt weighted down by chains of my own making - this inability to open my hands and heart to grace. Oh, it is easy to see how grace applies to everyone else, but me......no, not me. My failings are too great.
With infinite patience the Father took me by the shoulders and, with the voice of friends, a Pastor's teaching, and His own words, reminded me that His grace is sufficient for even me. Tears are cleansing. His mingle with mine, and the chains fall. This time, I pray, for good.
If anyone should happen to read this who is struggling with unforgiveness - not God's unforgiveness, for that could never be so - but the inability to forgive yourself, I want to share some of the words He spoke to my heart in the hope it will minister to you.
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
"But Thou art a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness..."
"And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you..."
II Cor. 12:9
"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing."
Isaiah 43: 18,19