I met a guy this weekend. A young man that understands grace in a way that I never really will. Scripture tells us that the one forgiven much – loves much. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I am a sinner and I know I don’t deserve His grace … but I also know I am loved and forgiven based on His grace. But the story I heard this weekend just reminded me how huge God’s love really is – an ocean doesn’t even come close to describing it, for an ocean can be measured. Yes, huge, but still measurable. God’s love is even greater. Wow!
This young man had a rough background. He has done some intense criminal activities, and still could face prison time. But you know … I saw tenderness, humility, and a love for others. He said if he went to prison, he was okay with that. He would just share God’s love there. Wow.
Years ago, I was blessed to travel with a ministry group. Once, a former Hell’s Angel travelled with us sharing his story. Just like this weekend, I was in the presence of someone who understood great forgiveness, great grace, and had a deep love for God.
Scripture tells us that the one forgiven much – loves much!
Neither of these guys were perfect. They both were still growing in the grace and love of our Lord. But they both reminded me how much I too, and you too, need God’s love and forgiveness.
But we often forget it – take it for granted – and don’t even care about showing it. One of the saddest memories in my ministry was the response of a church member when we were doing an Purpose Driven Life Weekend in Louisiana. I scheduled prayer meetings for various small groups in homes scattered throughout the community. One of the homes was owned by a person that had made some unwise decisions in the past … had confessed to his small group and asked for forgiveness from God and from them. And I was the leader for the prayer meeting, not the home owner. But another member said it was inappropriate and I should move the prayer meeting. When I discussed forgiveness and grace with the ‘disappointed member’, they said we shouldn’t forgive and that we forgive way too much. Again, wow. I asked if we should accept his tithes and offerings, let him sing in church … after all, he had asked for forgiveness. They stared in disbelief I would even ask. Once more, wow. But this wow is in my disbelief.
Now, where am I on this scale? Too often a bit too unforgiving and lacking compassion. Too often forgetting how much He has forgiven me. I’ve softened as the birthdays have piled up. It helps me understand how in John 8, when Jesus wrote in the sand – it was the older ones who dropped their rocks and walked away first. We realize how messy we really are … and how great His love truly is.
So … don’t wait till your my age to appreciate His grace. Know now, live in it now, and let the world know – we are forgiven.
Todd, one with muddy shoes.