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For the Down and Out days

I have down and out days that turn into weeks and if I'm really low they can run into a month long or worse. I'm coming back out of one of those times right now that pushed on past a month long. They are a drag and when I get this way I just want to curl up into a ball or sink into the shadows of a lost corner somewhere no one else can see me. I shy away from human contact and put on a fake smile around others.

I start blaming others in my mind and run from God too. Why do I do this? Usually it's because I'm hurt and I feel like I have no voice because I'm afraid of being rejected. I'm afraid of not being listened to so I don't even give my Heavenly Father or the person that I want to hear me a chance to. It's that bad. I turn the daggers of guilt and shame upon myself. I can't accept my own guilt and shame. I can't accept forgiveness for my failings and why should they?

It's a trap. A trick. I know it and so do you. But why do I so willingly go there? I start doubting God's truths. I stop sharing with others. And the negative self-talk and behaviors slide right in and I can get stuck in that place going through the cycle doubt, shame and sinful acts that seem to prove it all.

It's all a lie. A slight of hand. The lie I've been believing is that I cannot control my addiction, which is the truth as well. I really have no control over it. My addiction can very easily invade and take over. I am powerless against it on my own. And that's the full truth. When I stand alone against my addiction I am not enough, my strength will eventually fail. I need others to stand with me, hold me accountable and point me to God who will forgive me again even with my doubts and fears.

Guys, we need each other and we need our loving Heavenly Father who has borne all the guilt and shame of our past, present and future. Don't hold on to those lies that you are not good enough or that you have to get clean first before coming to God for forgiveness. Those are only half-truths but totally complete lies. You see, the Bible says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us..." 2 Corinthians 5:21a. This means Christ took our place, even in our doubt, shame, sin, disbelief; all of it! Addictions too. We don't get it. Why? Because we would never do what He did. This world tells us that we need to pay for everything we get. Earn everything, work for it, so when it comes to being forgiven we look at it all the same way. What do I have to do to earn this? 10 Hail Marry's and 8 Our Father's, bow to the East 3 times a day etc. etc. The God of the Bible knows we are powerless to save ourselves and says this about the things we have done wrong, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

Life is a gift. Straight up, no cost. Just a gift. No hidden fees or penalties. We don’t have to do anything to earn it. Just open our hands and hearts and accept it. We accept God’s free gift of His son’s death on the cross in exchange for all of the guilt, shame and even addictions and sinful acts. We accept him and He accepts us. But it’s even better than that. He’s already accepted us before we even choose to accept Him. Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God, through his son Jesus’ death saved us from sin, shame, doubt self-loathing, addiction and everything else even before we asked him to. He loves us that much! Will you let him love you today? Give him all pain, guilt and shame and receive the gift of life through acceptance of Jesus death on a cross to pay for it for you.

Want more understanding? I challenge you to find a local Bible-believing church in your community. You need brothers and sisters in Christ to help point you to him in your times of self-doubt and disbelief.

Here's a link to help you find a church in your local community:

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David Henning
David Henning
Oct 09, 2023

Nathan, thank you for sharing this. You are an excellent writer. My men's discipleship group is full of people who struggle with forgiving themselves and we get together every week to encourage each other. Especially since God says, "what are you talking about? I don't remember?"

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