Forgiveness: Once and For All

Ephesians 4:22–24 “Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and… Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Happy Friday Eve! Do you have any big weekend plans? This weekend I am blessed with the opportunity to help two very special people celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary! Anybody who’s been married that long knows that it’s a miracle they made it 25 years, no one died nor did they kill each other—double blessing!

The same weekend, Taylor, Kristian, and Willow have a wedding they are attending. They get to witness the opening of a brand new book with the words “Once upon a time…” while Eric and I attend the middle chapters of an “and they lived happily ever after.”

These two events remind me of last weeks blog. I was speaking of a child who gets dirty before a wedding takes place. They disobeyed the parent who told them to stay clean, but didn’t loose the parent’s love and were guaranteed forgiveness for the offense. This week, Heavenly Dad, through Dan Molder (I think that’s his name) has been speaking to me about the whole being forgiven for “all unrighteousness,” meaning sins for today and the sins for tomorrow. I mentioned last week that every time I sin we don’t throw Jesus back onto the cross for Him to die again for that sin. He died ONCE to pay the penalty for our sins, but that’s not a license to continue to sin. OK, that’s the recap.

This week I’ve been working on wrapping my mind around living the life I was created to live. I grew up that the reason we become Christians is to stay out of hell and with the understanding Christians try not to sin using self discipline and asking God for help. That’s the goal in life! At the end of the day, I’d pray for however long, to confess all of my mistakes that I’ve made throughout the day. If my list isn’t long then my prayer wasn’t long and I feel like I had “Had a good day.“ How sad is that?

What Dan says is that we, since were created in God’s image, shouldn’t live in a sin consciousness. What that means is I shouldn’t wake up every day microscoping every move that I make so focused on the lines that I’m afraid I’m going to cross that I am missing out on the opportunities that God created me for. At the end of the day I should throw my hands up into the air and shout “Thank you Lord! I am not who I was this morning and I am a little bit more like you today! Today was a great day, not because of what happened to Me but because I choose to look and react like You IN SPITE of what happened to me today.” I’m learning to change my focus. How can I become more like him if I’m not watching Him but staring down to make sure that I don’t trip?

One further: we were taught that we’re supposed to be humble, which technically is a good thing. Instead I turn this into the justification for self-hate. If I like anything about myself then I must have an ego and I think too highly of myself. How sad is that? I was created in God’s image! Would I look and view God in the same measure that I do myself?

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely NOT a depressive person, some might call me perky. I even have a tendency to be a “Pollyanna.“ (Those are my daughter Taylor‘s words, not mine.) This week I came clean to Eric when we were discussing this topic. I explained that I love to encourage people. The truth is, however, it’s because I don’t want anyone to hate themselves as much as I hate myself. I will cheer them on for fear that they are holding themselves back out of lack of self-esteem or value, like I do.

Confession time is over, back to the child at the wedding.

So the parents and the child attend the wedding: the child is now squeaky clean and very pretty or handsome. The parents are in a good mood and ready to celebrate with a new bride and groom. What happens if the child can’t get past the pain they caused the parent? The parents are over it, but the child continues to apologize all day long, “I’m so sorry I hurt your feelings today, mommy and daddy.” “I am so sorry I got dirty today, mommy and daddy.” The parent continues to reassure them, but it just doesn’t help. “I’m so sorry I disobeyed you, mommy and daddy.“ “Can I do laundry for a week to make it up to you?“ On and on this goes all day. The child even feel so bad they tell just about everyone at the wedding how horrible they were!

Did the child enjoy the day? Did the mom and dad enjoy the wedding? Did the bride and groom enjoy the day? Did the other guests enjoy the wedding?

What would’ve happened if the child would’ve said,”I am so sorry that I got dirty,” The parents forgive them, they get everything cleaned up and they go to the wedding without mentioning it again? It’s done and over, so why bring it up again? Do you think the child ever do that again? If you’re the parent and you think,“Yes they will!” then you really haven’t forgiven them, and you need to do a heart check. At the same time, if you’re a child and you do it again, were you really sorry? A heart check will reveal the truth.

Christ died on the cross for us once to pay the penalty for our sins. We know we are forgiven. When we screw up and we pray “Will you please forgive me for…” and then walk around all day wondering what His answer was and beating ourselves up, that is like the child at the wedding who can’t get past his mistake. We know we are forgiven. There is supposed to be unspeakable joy in a relationship with our Heavenly Father, So that doesn’t quite sound right…or is it just me?

What would it look like if when we made a mistake we say, “Father, I am so sorry I…fill in the blank…screwed up.“ This next part is my nugget for the week: “Thank You, Heavenly Dad for forgiving me. Thank You for knowing my heart. Thank You for equipping me to not make that mistake again. Thank You for the lesson that I learned through that mistake. Thank You for helping me look more like You now that I’m on the other side. Thank You for loving me in spite of that mistake. Thank You for helping me forgive myself and move on.“

The bottom line is focus. What we focus on we do. If we focus on the sin, we’re going to sin because we’re afraid we’re going to. We create our own worst nightmares. If we wake up every morning just happy to be a child of his and focus on him, what are we gonna look like? When we stumble, get up! I need to dust myself off and not stand frozen. Get my focus back on Christ! I ask for forgiveness quickly! I truly am sorry so I’m going to do everything in my power not to do it again but I’m not gonna focus on it. I put my eyes on Jesus the author and creator, the beginning in the end, the perfect one.

This week I am learning: that’s what forgiveness looks like.

Until next time: blessings!

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