I remember when my kids were little and wintertime would bring snow days off from school. This of course meant they would want to go out in the yard to play in the very thing that gave them a one day reprieve from school. The usual cold day items would need to be pulled out thus beginning the questions of “Where’s my other mitten?” and “I can’t find my hat.” Then we had to locate boots, scarfs, snow pants, and any items needed for a respectable snowball fight. This was the chain of events that took approximately forty-five minutes to complete for them to go out for a half an hour. Oh, they would eventually go back out and the ritual would begin again.
Someone would almost always come back in completely covered in snow and declare that they had to go to the bathroom. Ugh! Don’t we always tell them to go before they get all dressed in the seven layers of clothing? So then the process would go in reverse. Inevitably though, just when they think they can’t hold it another second, the zipper on their coat would get stuck. After yanking on it a couple times the words would come, “Dad could you help me get my zipper unstuck?” Coming to their rescue, my husband would discover the fabric of the coat was jammed into the teeth of the zipper. As the child stood there yelping about how bad they had to go, my husband would say “hang on I have to get the fabric out of the zipper”.
Well just when I thought I would have an accident to clean up, He would say “Ok, got it!” Then he would pull the zipper the rest of the way down and yank the coat off while our child was already trying to take off toward the bathroom. He would be left standing there holding the coat, sleeves inside out in their rush. He would right them and after our youngster would return, he would help them with putting it back on so it wouldn’t get stuck again.
This makes me think of how we can hold onto our past mistakes as some sort of stuck zipper on a guilt coat that we can’t get out of. We want to be free of it but the fabric of the guilt we carry is trapped in the zipper. We tug and pull to try to free ourselves, but just as my child realized after their own attempts, we have to call to our Father to free us. He is the only one who can pull the fabric out and then help us off with that guilt coat. Then we run from it leaving the sleeves inside out. This in my mind is like leaving the guilt exposed so our Father can right them and then help us put on his robe of righteousness. Then He helps us on with it so we don’t get stuck in the guilt again.
Our Father in heaven is a God of forgiveness. We need not carry the guilt because He died so we wouldn’t have to. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” See we need not still carry the guilt or shame after we have confessed it to God and truly repented. God is faithful and just to cleanse us from that shame. Your heavenly Father doesn’t expect or want you or me to carry that weight when He gave His very life to bring freedom of guilt and sin.
Let God help you with the zipper of the guilt coat, then help you back on with His robe instead— He is just waiting for us to come and ask. He will never force His gift or forgiveness on anyone. It is just that, a gift. I’ve never seen a gift bag or wrapped present with a zipper, have you?