God’s Forgiveness

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!   (Mt. 7:11)

When I knew my mother could be one illness away from dying, I went to see her.  As we sat down that first night, she asked, “I can tell you’re here for a reason. What’s going on?”

I said, “Mom, because you’re really ill, I wanted us to clear the deck with each other.  If there’s anything to say, let’s say it.   If there’s anything to forgive, let’s forgive it.”

She agreed to the plan.  I started: “Mom, I lied to you and Fred [my stepdad] when I was 17.”

She said,  “What are you talking about?”

As I recounted the circumstances she began to laugh.  I said, “Why are you laughing?”  She said, “Jamie, we knew you were lying.  You were always such a bad liar.  We forgave you long ago. Why did you carry around your guilt for all these years?  Did you really think we wouldn’t forgive you?”

Today’s scripture suggests this:  If my mother could forgive me with so much grace, why would I ever doubt God wouldn’t do the same, and more?

The purpose of confessing our sins isn’t to convince God to forgive us.  The purpose is to prepare our hearts to receive the forgiveness God has already given.  God’s forgiveness isn’t dependent upon what we do, but upon what God has already done in and through Jesus.

I encourage us to “clear the decks” with God.  If there’s anything to say, say it.  If there’s anything to confess, confess it. Even though God has already forgiven us, we still need to ask because doing so opens our hearts to receive God’s grace.

I’d waited nearly forty years before I confessed my “sin” to my mother. I’d needlessly carried around my guilt and shame for all those years, for she had already forgiven me.

How much guilt and shame are we needlessly carrying around right now when our Heavenly Father has already forgiven us? What are we waiting for?

Reflection Questions:

  1. Other than with God, are there some people you need to “clear the decks” with? If not, you are quite unusual.  If so, when you are going to reach out?
  1. Now, with God:Is there any confessing, re-doing, making amends that you have left undone?  If so, again, when are you going to do so?
  1. You are forgiven before you ask.  You confession merely opens your heart to receive the forgiveness that is already there for you.  What does that Good News sound like to you?

 

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