The Importance of Conviction
It's a safe assumption that no one enjoys feeling guilt, pain, or discomfort of any kind; it's one of the many qualities of humanity. Nevertheless, there's no denying that it's part of life. At some point, every one of us has experience guilt and/or pain, including Jesus Christ. His suffering was the ultimate pain and sacrifice.
My best friend and I had a lengthy conversation once loosely revolving around this matter. Not just about pain and suffering, though. But also the necessity of it and how each person copes differently. She, a practicing Catholic, did not understand my ways of coping, me being a participating Christian.
*This is by no means an attempt to criticize the Catholic sect, or anything affiliated with it; this is merely a personal insight regarding this specific issue.
We both grew up learning about Our Father, His love for His Son, why Jesus was sacrificed, and so on. But as we became more independent of our parents, began to experience life, allowing our own beliefs and values form, we realized how different our interpretations of Jesus' intentions, purpose, and teachings were.
And so began the conversation: why was I, who came from a very similar background, so much happier in my faith than she. Admittedly, I had to think for a while. In truth, we still believed the same things. But, after pondering for a minute or two, it occurred to me: one of the major differences between my friend and me was how we incorporate His suffering in our daily lives.
After spending a few moments formulating a response, I told her the following: instead of relying on someone else to tell me I'm forgiven, I would much rather feel my convictions.
Firstly, no one can say that another is forgiven; that authority lies only with God. True, we can provide support, prayer for each other, and we have the potential to be forgiven; we can offer that explanation to each other. However, the Lord is the only one capable of forgiving.
Secondly, Jesus was meant to be sacrificed for our salvation. He knew this, and despite the fact that He was afraid, even prayed to the Father to take away this destiny, He trusted in the Lord. He understood the importance of His death, what His blood and love would do for us, and God's will was done.
Now, this ultimate sacrifice is beyond anything we deserve, but there's so much more than just Jesus' death that we gain.
Jesus experienced every emotion and pain and temptation that we do today.
Why is that so important? Because that creates yet another link between us and Him, more than just His love. He knew what we felt, and He understood.
When I learned this, my relief and adoration for the Living God could not be contained; He knew what I was going through during every distress in my life. And so, I would rather feel my guilt and pain because it brings my that much closer to Him. And through prayer and support, when the pain is lifted, I feel more than joy, relief, and elation. I feel His love more intensely, I can recognize His Grace more quickly and in more areas in my life and in our world. I appreciate my convictions because they bring my closer to my supreme friend, Jesus Christ.
I'm sure that I went into more depth, but as some time has passed, I've forgotten many other details of the conversation. But the essential points remained in my memory. And to my relief, my friend understood what I was (and still am) trying to convey.
To experience conviction is to feel the smallest pain, that it minutely compares to the suffering of Jesus Christ. It increases awareness of the Lord in our lives, how it makes us appreciate our blessings so much more. It brings us nearer to God.