Is Forgiveness Real, or Not?

I really blew it with my kids yesterday.  Blame it on a toxic cocktail of hormones,  fear and the need to control.  Or.  Let’s just get real.  It was my loss of self control. 

Either way, when my emotional tornado passed, all of us looked and felt like one of those house-splintered aftermath scenes. They were hurt.  I was hurt. And I was pretty sure the Lord was sad too.  There was  a lot of debris to clean up.

As I made dinner, the scene replayed in my mind: my words, their faces.  My choices, their hurt. Over and over it played. My heart was breaking. I love my girls so much. And yet…I still said those horrible things.

“What do I do now??” I asked the Lord in a near panic.

Of course— I would ask my girls  for forgiveness.  But how do I be different next time? I was in a state of shock and disbelief.

Had He taught me so much only for me to lose it in a moment? Did His love not really matter when I needed it most? Was I ever going to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way in the heat of the moment?

The crazy thing is,  I had been worshiping all day.  So here is the ugly truth.  I was surprised by my blatant sin.  But I was equally surprised by my hesitation to receive forgiveness from the Lord.  I was so — embarrassed.

In His kindness,  God brought  to mind a couple of recent conversations. IMG_3851

One involved a man who was unfaithful to his wife and had just been discovered.  My friend said he was  a great guy that loves the Lord and before this happened, she thought he loved his family. “But now he is questioning his faith. He doesn’t know what he believes anymore,” she said.

“That is so common when sin is exposed,” I told my friend. “We all have to square with God’s forgiveness. We either run into the arms of God because His forgiveness is the only thing that will heal us.  Or,  we question that His love really is that strong, so we run away from all of it. The best thing you can tell your friend is God loves him. Still.”

That comment rolled out of my mouth about three hours before my tornado.

Jesus wasn’t surprised by my sin. He had paid for my sin. Already.  If He was sad, it wasn’t  over my sin. He was sad because I was hurting.  Isaiah 53 (vs 3-4)  describes Jesus as being fully acquainted with our griefs and carrying our sorrows. Certainly, Jesus knew completely why I did what I did. But He also provided the cure.  So why was I waiting to run to him? He was the only place to go for healing.

The second conversation was in a letter written to a friend who just turned forty.  She and I have both struggled with “being behind” as good, Christian parents. We really love Jesus but we still blow it.  God reminded me of my words to her:

“I guess as I get older, I appreciate mercy and grace in a whole new way.  Sure there are hard lessons and many, many screw ups.  But some how, some way, God always “renders miracles of our sins.”  So I pray you will be kind to yourself as you look back.  And be bold as you look forward…You are a powerhouse in the Kingdom.  Don’t ever forget that.”

Over dinner, I confessed my sin to my girls and asked for forgiveness.  We hugged and made up. But that night as I laid in bed in the dark, it was the arms of my God that I needed most.  The oddest thing happened.

My heart began to worship again. Who is this God that knows us so deeply and yet loves us so fiercely?  As I replayed the scene again in my spirit, I was undone by the reality by His true forgiveness.

Truly it is the mercy and grace of God that changes us all. Forgiveness is real. He loves us still.  Walking in this reality is what  makes me, and you,  different over time.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.



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