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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

A Christian gentleman I know committed an indiscretion recently with a young prostitute who approached him at a café. He had been a Christian for years and had never even entertained committing adultery.  He knew what this young woman’s intentions were, nevertheless he thought he might witness to her to see if he could convince her to give up her sins.  Unfortunately, the opposite happened.

After a short while, as she began to reel him in, he was overcome with waves of lust that were drowning him. Before long, he was kissing her and then roaming with his hands, eventually succumbing to oral sex in a nearby alleyway.

When it was over, he was devastated. This was not like him. He would never have done such a terrible thing.  How on earth did this happen? It was almost like a hiccup in reality.  But it really did happen, and it happened to him.  What’s more it can happen to anyone.

He cried to the Lord for forgiveness, but would God really forgive him, or would he be terribly punished and see his testimony as a staunch Christian be destroyed? He didn’t feel worthy and had nothing to offer as payment or ransom, but he appealed to the Savior anyway.  Just maybe God would have mercy and forgive him even though there was no excuse for what he had done.

He read the Psalms where David struggled with the same sin.  But David was the apple of God’s eye. Of course God would forgive David, but what about him?  He was just a regular guy, nothing special, and even though he had spent his life as a strong Christian, there wasn’t anything that suggested that God would bestow upon him any special favors.  He had committed sin and would have to pay the price, whatever that would be, and that was that.

But God doesn’t think like us.

This opens up a depth about forgiveness, sin, our need for a Savior, and what Jesus really did when He went to the Cross.  He didn’t die because we deserved it, neither did He die because we asked. When we were still in sin and rebellion, He shed His blood for us.

He did it because He is God.

Our friend now has a deeper compassion for those who fall into sin.  Now he understands how easy and compelling lust can be, and how quickly it can take complete control over you.  And which sin is worse? Lying? Hate? Gossip? Unforgiveness?  Spiritual pride?  So how do we judge someone who has fallen to lust? Can we exercise the same compassion that has been shown to us?

When I got saved, I never had that overwhelming thankfulness of being forgiven.  I just said the prayer and joined the army.  I have acknowledged but never understood the mercy of God and how thankful we all should be.  But begging God for forgiveness and for another chance changes the whole picture. Grasping this desperation for forgiveness causes David’s prayers to leave the poignant realm of poetry and become a desperate cry from the very essence of our lives. “Oh God, if you will just pass over this sin, how thankful I would be!  Please give me another chance!”

And He does.  Wow.  He didn’t have to, but He does.  Why?  Because he delights in mercy?  Because He is love incarnate?  Yeah, okay, but I still don’t understand why.  We didn’t keep the rules and we should be punished.  And maybe we will be … but maybe we won’t be.  That strict adherence to the rules is not the Grace of God.

That’s the nature of the Cross, that He gave his life with no conditions. We had nothing in our hands to give – no reimbursement, no ransom, no special deeds or talents, nothing worthy … nothing but our hearts.  And He forgave us because He loved us.

I still don’t understand, but I sure feel a lot better.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

(Isa 55:8-9)

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