Mary Coleman: New beginnings

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, November 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here now is WORLD Radio commentator Mary Coleman.

MARY COLEMAN, COMMENTATOR: Early last spring, I spent three mornings gazing at the Atlantic Ocean from the balcony of a beachfront condo. There’s nothing quite like spending time with God as nature stares back, speaking his truth. Micah chapter 7, verses 18 and 19 often come to mind when I am at the beach. The Message version reads:

Where is the god who can compare with you—wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.

Think of it. God throws our sins where they cannot be retrieved. Weighted down so heavily that they can never rise to the surface. Covered. Forgotten. This is God’s desire for sin.

Knowing, that, why do we collect sins like seashells? We wait for them to wash up on the shore of our memories. Fragments of pain dotting the landscape, capturing our attention and hurting our spiritual feet. Why do we focus downward, searching for regrets and collecting them in a bucket so we can display them on the mantle of our worthiness?

Many of us can attribute our weakness in this area to the way we were raised. Some parents treat every irritation like the world is coming to an end. Minor mistakes, forgetfulness, and sin are met with anger, teasing, or condemnation. This was true in my family.

The first time I felt shamed by my dad, I was eight years old, sweeping the floor with a broom. He laughed and scolded me because my strokes were too short, and this really deflated me. I know my dad loved me, and I wanted to please him throughout our lives together. But the atmosphere of shame in our household was toxic. It set the stage for my lifelong struggle with depression and my inability to let my sins go.

The medical community offers valuable insight into the roots and remedy for toxic shame. I have benefited greatly from that advice which aligns so well with what the scriptures teach about renewing our minds.

As for my earthly father and me, a special redemption occurred as I faced the difficult decision of choosing a nursing home for him. From his hospital bed, he watched quietly as I cried, asking his doctors for more time to find a suitable place for him to be transferred. With a reassurance I had never felt from him, Dad said to me, “Don’t worry Mary. You are doing a good job.”

Oh, what a redemption! Proof that our Heavenly Father is the great Recycler. He’s just fine with us dumping spiritual toxins into the ocean so we can relax and enjoy his glorious expanse of forgiveness and new beginnings.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Mary Coleman.

(Photo/Mary Coleman)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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