God loves sinners.
I think this is a lot easier to accept when the sinner in question isn’t myself. When I’m the sinner, I find it impossible to accept that God really loves me, and can’t help hiding from God and trying to earn my way back into His good graces. Which I also know I can’t do.
Basically, God has to batter me down with His tenderness, to accept His merciful love. It’s impossible for me, but not for Him. The most I can do is ask Him to do this.
When we sin, we are in a state of sin, and live by the logic of sin, which is entirely incapable of understanding God’s grace and mercy. We think God is like us, judging and measuring up and seeking to exploit his friends and crush his enemies. Like Adam and Eve, we hide from God, because love doesn’t make sense to us.
Somehow God breaks through. I am put in His presence, and His merciful love breaks me down. In fact, it crucifies me. The heart of stone is shattered, and I’m set free, made alive again.
But it’s not about becoming “righteous”… In fact, I think that when I’m no longer the sinner that’s being crucified by His merciful love, I’m back in the logic of sin, and will soon commit a sin that makes that clear. Christian holiness is God’s own life in an unworthy sinner, and once we’re “worthy”, we’ve kicked Him out.
Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen