I treat Gods forgiveness like that stanky dish cloth that doesn’t merely spread the dirt around, it adds to the dirt. Or some kind of dish washer that makes us feel nice for a couple of minutes – the boiling hot sterile water. But then when we get taken out of the washer later, there is still the crusty pasta baked on the side.
Gods forgiveness is complete.
It is deep and wide, and like steel wool it scrubs back to the original intention.
Watching myself and close friends through life, it saddens me to find that we struggle with the same sins for years and years because we don’t let His forgiveness liberate our souls. Often is the time when I have been asked if there’s anything I need to confess and I always go back to the same confessions only later to realize God has forgiven me of that. Also watching how that subtle condemnation sometimes goes full circle, and is used by the enemy to take me out.
The subtle whispers, the mistrust. Of not only ourselves but of other people. It all becomes an environment of disunity, suspicion and unforgiveness.
If our view of Gods forgiveness is that it’s not complete. That it’s only partial and needs repetition. – what kind of model does that set up for us?
When I am wronged by a brother and I only forgive him partially, I leave open a huge door for resentment to walk through, resentment when watered into bitterness can end up in destroying relationships. Revenge becomes a normal response, we second guess everyone’s motives and end up dividing everything, because we haven’t forgiven completely.
Take the bleach of forgiveness and clean everything with it. I have wronged God most, if not every day of my life. I have rebelled and walked completely away from him for weeks and years. I have besmirched his name by living like a butt-head whilst hoisting his name on a banner.
He has forgiven me. He has wiped my slate clean. He has bleached my soul – I am rescued and forgiven. Gods example of forgiveness frees me to forgive similarly. If I forgave everyone – freeing my heart and mind and if everyone forgave me and if we held short accounts with each other…..
We would be unoffendable. We would all understand that we are all fallible, we are all imperfect at present, and we need each others help to stay on top of everything.
How communities would change and improve.
Now a little difference between bleach and forgiveness. Bleach is powerful and shouldn’t be drunk. Bleach smells and makes its presence known. But a lot of the time God’s forgiveness is subtle, loving, gentle – not looking for attention. Outside of Christs death, that was more gruesome then theatrical – Gods forgiveness of us is genuine and quiet.
So should our forgiveness. We shouldn’t trumpet it around. We shouldn’t make banners.
In all of my room-mate relationships, I’ve had to ask forgiveness a few times and all of my room mates have been very quick to forgive. The ways they gently and no-questions-asked forgiven me, means I’m even quicker to say sorry the next time, I’m quicker to run to get that bleach on me. If our view of God is that he is doom and gloom, incomplete at cleaning and overtly condemning, why would we remotely be near him?
Can we forgive each other like God does?
Can we run after perfection and purity, whilst having the ability to run to God quickly for forgiveness when we need to?
Is your picture of Gods forgiveness one of bleach or the dish cloth that does nothing?