“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14, ESV)
I don’t know if I can convey what these verses mean to me! In a world where we are constantly made to feel we need to be more and do more, they bring peace and renewed hope.
As a type A perfectionist, I view myself in black and white. It’s all or nothing. I’m doing great or I’m a total failure. I create expectations for myself that no human could ever achieve. And then I plunge into despair when I cannot achieve those goals.
But I’m the one creating impossible standards. I’m carrying a burden I was never meant to carry. I expect nothing less than perfection of myself, when perfection is impossible. But God offers compassion when I fail.
I berate myself for not having super human strength and stable emotions. But God knows I am an imperfect human and shows mercy when I falter.
I think and act like I’m invincible. And He remembers I am made from dust.
The pressure to perform, the guilt when I fail, and the exacting standard of perfection I can never achieve does not come from God. It is something I created and can never appease.
So each time I fail–each time the enemy whispers I’m a failure, I’m unlovable, I always mess up–I whisper these verses.
“He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.”
“As a father shows compassion on his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
He offers grace. He offers help. And He offers another chance, and another, and another. Because He is my Father, and He loves me in all my weaknesses and foibles.
And then I remember the preceding verse: “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (v. 12).
He is not holding my sin against me. He is not keeping a tally of my many failures. My sins and failures are gone. They can not be held against me any more.
If I’m hearing voices of shame and guilt, they are not from God, but from Satan–the accuser of believers (Rev. 12:10). Because God is not the author of condemnation or confusion. He has forgiven me. And when He convicts, He does it gently–as a loving Father–knowing my human frailty.
There are second chances this side of eternity. No more condemnation. Just grace.