Monday, March 15, 2010

Father Forgive Me


I am a sinner. It doesn’t matter what you see on the outside; how good, innocent, or godly I look. My heart is ridden with thoughts and desires that do not come from God. I long for Jesus—for Him to consume me with His love. I recognize that He is the only thing good within me.

I believe that God is primarily a relational Being. It is the only way I can explain my creation, my salvation, and God’s interaction in my everyday life. Sure God is many things, but every time in Scripture Jesus or the God of Old Testament refers to His relationship with us/His church, He does not use abstract parables with objects, but practical parables involving relationships. He refers to His church as His bride; He calls us children of God adopted by grace. God is love.

Hosea is a man that had to go through some of the pain that God goes through everyday. Through this man’s life, God illustrated the heartbreak that He goes through when His children continue to live in sin and reject His leading and involvement. Hosea was married to a whore. If the church is Jesus’ bride, then I would have to say He is married to the whorest of whores.

When I sin, I feel guilt—I go to God and ask for forgiveness. I tell God to create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51) and tell Him to be faithful and just in forgiving my sin since I am confessing (1 John 1:9). I claim Jesus as my righteousness The scriptural passages that I base my forgiveness on are largely built on the relational component of God’s grace, however, I treat my forgiveness as a technicality.

I go to God and say, “Lord, forgive me.” I tell Him that I have fallen short once again and cry out for the righteousness of Jesus. This is all good, but to be honest, it is no better than reciting 10 Hail Mary’s and getting away free. The weird thing is I ask for forgiveness so that God will reopen the doors and so I can start being relational with Him again. I overlook that my forgiveness is relational. When I fall short, when I give in to all sorts of things that are blatantly contradictory to God’s way of life, I should seek relational forgiveness, but I don’t and this is a problem. It’s as if I am a man going to my wife and saying, “Honey, I’ve been cheating on you with multiple different women. Please forgive me.” Now I am confident that Jesus forgives me, so normally I walk away at this point feeling forgiven and moving on. Of course I should move on, of course I should be confident in my forgiveness, but if I said a statement like this to my wife then I would know, even if she did forgive me, that she would be horribly pained and hurt. Tears would be streaming from her face. Even if she loved me more than anything, even if she had forgiven me right away, she would be hurting. When I sin I feel like I need to go through the technicalities to get it expunged from my record, I disregard the tears streaming from the eyes of God.

God is big—really, really big. So it is a valid question to wonder if a God that could create this world could really be interested in your everyday actions. Again, I believe God is relational, but I do believe He is God. He does not hurt the same way you and I understand hurt. He sees the big picture. He knows if you walk away from Him for the 40th time that you are getting nearer to the 53rd time which will be the last time. God is complex, bigger than you and I. I believe He cares about the way I live my life simply because I believe that He one day wants me to enjoy perfect holiness. I believe He cares how I live my life because it directly affects the lives of His other children. If God is as relational as I think He is, then when I make a commitment to Him, then break the commitment—it hurts Him. I need to approach God as I am approaching the amazing and wondrous Creator of the Universe, but also as I am approaching my spouse, the One who loves me more deeply than anyone I have ever known. This is sort of a complicated thing to do.

“Lord, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for cheating on you. I’m sorry for looking for love when it’s right in front of me. I’m sorry for not understanding your grace, and for the hardening my heart to your magnificent Spirit. Jesus, you died for me, you went to the ends of the earth and suffered great pain to prove your love for me, forgive me for not responding to this love. I’m sorry for being ungrateful—if I took the time to realize all that you have done for me then I wouldn’t stray so often. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the change, the good work that you have begun in me. Thank you for the promise of finishing this good work—for the promise that sin will one day be done away with. Thank you for the joy you bring me today, and for the joy that you promise to bring in the days to come. Thank you for love. Teach me how to love you and those around me, that I may be changed. Changed—not to impress anyone or to earn anything, but simply so that I may live in this crazy love you have for me and share it with all these hurting people around me. Thank you for smiles, laughter, and beauty. Thank you for life and for being my God.”

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