The other day my son showed me why Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like little children (Matthew 19:14). I was lying on the couch exhausted while my husband was upstairs running through the usual bedtime shenanigans with our five year old. Only my husband was also tired and his patience was not up for the job. So nobly I dragged myself off the couch, offered to take over, then promptly and completely lost my cool. I was definitely way more short-tempered than my husband had been. It was short-lived but undeserved. I said I was sorry and was immediately forgiven with the usual sweetness expected from a young child. Later as we lay cuddling in his bed and reading a book, I still felt bad so I said again that I was sorry. And my sweet little boy said, “oh mummy, I don’t even remember that anymore”. In that moment God used a little child to demonstrate to me unmerited favor, that as-far-as-the-east-is-from-the-west kind of grace that only He can give. I didn’t doubt for one moment that my son’s response was anything less than genuine; there is still no guile in him and he loves and forgives without condition. I live with him every day so I have learned who he is and what his character is like so because of this I know his expressions of love and forgiveness to be genuine. Never has he brought up any of my past wrongs. When the wrongdoing is done, when the moment has past and forgiveness has been received, it is immediately as though nothing bad had ever happened. This is how God is with us. I, on the other hand, am not as quick to forgive or forget. I can struggle inside, wanting to make sure my son knows that he upset me or hurt me or frustrated me and I want to know he is really sorry. Even then I still might feel like being grumpy, not too sure if I can just act like it never happened right away. How shameful, how silly when I consider that I am describing my relationship with a child who just started kindergarten! And isn’t it this very foolishness that makes us question how God can forgive and forget? Oh sure we know that He forgives us enough for us to make it into heaven but what about in the moments just after we’ve sinned. Is His forgiveness immediate or does He hesitate? Does He stop to consider all the other times we’ve committed that same offense and then think about how long He’ll stay mad just to make sure we really know He’s not too happy about it all? The Bible tells us, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17); freedom from sin, freedom from shame, freedom from condemnation. Not just for when we squeak on past the pearly gates with a tattered certificate of forgiveness but freedom for this moment, for this day, for this life. Jesus said He had come so that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). We like to say, “when He was on the cross, I was on His mind1”. Well what does that means? It means that ALL our sin was on Him so He knew there was lots of it!! That is why we are told that “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more”!! And grace triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). My friend, God is genuine with you. Genuinely in love with you, genuinely abounding in grace and forgiveness toward you, and genuinely casting your sins as far as the east is from the west. Today He wants you to begin to live in that grace. Listen and you’ll hear Him say, “my child, I don’t even remember that anymore”. I pray you will enjoy His freedom.
- John Starnes
- This is my story. I own it. Grace is messy. (graceismessy.com)
- The Miracle of Forgiveness (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)