Sunday, August 28, 2016

I believe in the forgiveness of sins

Lewis tells us how important forgiveness today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He jumps right to how we need to forgive others in order to receive God's forgiveness. And there is truth to that, of course. It's right there in the Lord's Prayer, among other places. But let's take a step back for a second. Just believing that God forgives us is pretty huge. And no wonder that we put it in the creed. We have to be reminded. Because our enemy wants to convince us that we can't be forgiven. And our own scumbag brains bring up the worst of our lives at 3am for us to ruminate over. Thanks, brain.

But the reading from Hebrews in church today was amazing. I guess I just missed this the other times I've read this verse. But Hebrews 12:24 says that Jesus's blood speaks to us more eloquently than the blood of Abel. That is powerful stuff.

So the blood of Abel cried out to God for justice. And justice is good, right? It's not good when people do bad things and get away with it.

But there is something greater than justice. And that is forgiveness. Jesus's blood cried out eloquently that we might be forgiven. And here is an amazing story that tells us what forgiveness can look like...

There was an Amish family out on their wagon one night, when some teenagers from the nearby town came up behind them in their car. The teens were being stupid, typical teens and they were harassing the Amish family. One of them threw a rock, and it just happened to hit the son in the Amish family, killing him.

Everyone was devastated. The teen was taken to court, and the family testified FOR him, saying that it wasn't his fault and that it was an accident. He went to jail anyway. The Amish family visited him on a regular basis throughout his incarceration, bringing him things and reassuring him that they forgave him.

THAT is what forgiveness looks like. That is what we believe in, which we have put in our creed so we don't forget. That is the kind of forgiveness that God gives us, only much greater than that. While we were yet sinners, He died for us.

See, when God comes to us, we realize that we're sinful. And we have a choice. We can say "Depart from me, Lord, because I'm a sinner". The way that looks in our lives is this: "God, that's scary. You scare me. So go away and let me go back to what I was doing that is comfortable and safe."

Or. We can say "Lord, I'm not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed." And what that looks like is this: "God, You scare me. But I know that I'm safer with You out there on the water than I am here by myself in this boat. So say the word, and I'll walk out to You."

The choice is yours.

God, thank You for forgiveness, without which our lives and our futures would be impossible.