No Matter the Rap Sheet

2018.12.16_No Matter the Rap Sheet_Megan Sinisi.jpg

I had just returned to work from maternity leave and sat down at my desk when the office clerk walked in and handed me a file. 

“Your evaluation appointment is here.  And her rap sheet is REALLY thick.” 
“I’m used to seeing that.” I replied while taking the file from him. 

“Well, she also has a murder charge she went to prison for.  Welcome back.” He replied as he walked out of the office.

A rap sheet is a term used in the criminal justice world that refers to a person’s arrest record.  It is something that I look through for the majority of people that I see.  A person’s rap sheet can give me a glimpse into who the person is.  And if I am not careful, I can take the information that I read and make a hasty determination about the person I am going to be interviewing for the next two hours, which could influence my recommendations for their court case.

The reality is that we all have a rap sheet.  I’ve never been arrested, but I have a rap sheet.  My rap sheet may not be a tangible document that can be searched; but a spiritual tally that I have added up over the years of my life.  There are things on my rap sheet due to my choices: Saying something harsh.  Thinking something completely inappropriate.  Giving into that temptation.  Being a horrible steward of the blessings given to me.  There are also things on my rap sheet due to other people: The generations of addiction and divorce in my family that have influenced my thoughts and beliefs.  The emotional turmoil of growing up in a broken family and rough neighborhood that caused me to act the way I did and do.   I am confident if I could look up my spiritual rap sheet, it would be really thick.  There would be things that seemed minor, parallel to a traffic ticket.  And there would be some things that seemed shocking, parallel to murder. 

When I think about my rap sheet, I can get really down in the dumps about who I am.  I can wallow in the mistakes I’ve made and the things that have happened to me and get stuck in the tunnel of thinking, “Well, what’s the point? I’ve already screwed up.  Why try to do something different?”  And when I get stuck in that tunnel of thinking, sometimes I have the thought of, “What does God think of me because I did _______? Why does He care?  How can He love and accept me if I did ______?”

 Thankfully, I have His word to tell me exactly what He thinks about me, why He cares, and how He loves me:

“God’s love, though, is ever and always,
Eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
As they follow his Covenant ways
And remember to do whatever he said.”
Psalm 103: 17-19 (The Message)

 God’s love is ever and always.  He is faithful.  Despite my rap sheet.  Despite what I’ve done in my past. Despite what has happened to me.  Despite the family baggage I inherited.  He is faithful.  He is constant.  He is reliable.  Even if nothing in my life has been faithful.

I love how it says that He is “eternally present to all who fear him.”  That word “fear,” refers to being in awe of Him rather than the traditional English definition I may be used to.  I am in awe of Him because of who He is.  I am in awe that He loves me despite my rap sheet.  I am in awe that He knows me intimately to make everything right for me.  I am in awe that He is able to do such a thing.  I am in awe of how big He is.  I am in awe that He is faithful to do all these things and more when I am in relationship with Him.

God is faithful.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Therefore, there is nothing you or I can do to change Him.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a big relief to me!  No matter how much I screwed up or how much of a mess I made, God does not change.  He may allow me to experience the natural consequences of my choices, but that is His love and mercy allowing me to learn and grow, not His anger or frustration with me.  When I learn from my choices, I tend to acknowledge them and how it played out and I stand in awe of Him loving me even more.  Then I have a stronger desire to walk closer with Him so I don’t make a big mess next time.  And I stand in awe of Him being faithful to me.  He is constant.  He is reliable.  He is for me.        

 What about you?  Have you come to a place of acknowledging that you have a rap sheet?  Even more importantly, have you come to a place of knowing that despite the rap sheet you have, there is a God who loves you and is more faithful than the morning (Lamentations 3:21-23)? Do you know that there is nothing you can or can’t do that will change God or His love for you?   

I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what your rap sheet looks like.Not in a harsh, judgmental way, but in a practice of acknowledging where you have been, where you have come from, and choices you have made.Maybe take some time to journal the things that come to your mind.Take some time meditating on your need for a savior.May God’s overwhelming presence and the real ness of His love and faithfulness pour into your heart, wash over your soul, and penetrate your mind, despite whatever is on your rap sheet.

Megan Sinisi is one of our Refres{her} bloggers. She describes herself as a 30-something year old lady who is still figuring out who the heck she is and sometimes worries she is just crazy. Megan is a most of the time stay at home mom of 3 precious little _ tyrants ͟ whom she loves more than her own breathe and wife to an amazing husband. She absolutely adores a good cup of coffee, chocolate and peanut butter combinations, coloring, being crafty, figuring out homeschooling her children, being silly and laughing with her husband, and chatting with friends about embarrassing moments and deep things at the same time. She has a love and fervor for writing and is walking in faith that God is calling her to use the passion and the gift He has given her. She hopes that her journey encourages, challenges, inspires, comforts, and most importantly, shines the light of Jesus and the reality of His love, grace, and mercy. More writings can be found on Megan's blog at: