"PURE"- 1) Free from Contamination; 2) Containing nothing unnecessary; 3) Without faults; 4) Full-strength. Free from impurities.
1) What does the word "forgive" mean to me?
2) Is there something I need to be forgiven for?
3) Is there someone I need to forgive?
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Romans 3: 23, King James Version
"Accept me, O Lord, just as I am, in my frailty, my inadequacy, my contradictions and my confusions. Accept me, with all those discordant currents that pull me in so many directions. Accept all of this, and help me so to live with what I am, that what I am may become my way to you."
Based on the "Suscipe Me,"
A prayer made by a novice on entering a Benedictine community
Yesterday, we studied how God calls us, through the seeds He plants in our consciences, back to a pure relationship with Him.
But I ask you - if a parent said to a child, "Come home, Dorothy. It's suppertime," and I knew once I arrived at the front door, I was going to be told what a loser I was; I was going to be told I would have to go without supper; and I was beaten and sent to bed - how eager do you think I would be to come home? If the circumstances I just described happened to me, I would run in the opposite direction as fast and as far as I could.
Unfortunately, this is what happens to many of us after we have run our lives of the road into a ditch. We really do want the "tow-truck" of God's love to rescue us but we're scared to death about the kind of response we'll get from God.
We ask ourselves, "How could God love me when I'm such a mess?" We fear our lives are ruined. And like Humpty-Dumpty, we believe we are too broken to be put back together again.
To make matters worse, there are always plenty of naysayers standing on the sidelines taking bets on how long it will be before the "fallen" crashes again. How unkind we are at times to one another since we all struggle to find God's path. How quick we are to deride those who fall from the pedestal we put them on.
This is the scenario King David found himself facing. Once a high and mighty king sitting on his royal throne, admirers everywhere, David found he was the laughing stock of the nation. The butt of bad jokes. The murderer. The adulterer. The lecherous king who had to take someone else's wife. He stole like a thief. A rich man from poor Uriah -- a loyal soldier and friend of the king. What a way to pay back a man who was fighting to protect the kingdom.
If I had been David, I might have thought I'd gone too far. I think I would have felt I had passed the point of no return.
But David was about to find out what real forgiveness is all about. And as he learned, there are three distinct truths about God's forgiveness.
Truth #1: God's forgiveness is immediate. When we ask God to forgive us, He does, right then and there! We don't have to prove we mean it. We don't have to show Him how sincere we are. All we need to do is ask and receive. If you don't believe me, then see what Jesus, Himself, did for a thief hanging on a cross beside Him on a hill called Golgotha. I am going to paraphrase the words found in Luke 23: 39-43, K.J.V. "And the thief said to Jesus, ‘When you come in your Heavenly kingdom will you please remember?' Jesus told the thief, ‘Today I promise you that Heaven is yours! You'll be there for certain." What a gift. Immediate forgiveness - right when we ask!
Truth #2: God's forgiveness is complete. I love the words of the prophet Isaiah, "I've wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings, there's nothing left of your sins. Come back to me, Come back. I've redeemed you" (Isaiah 44: 22, The Message). God doesn't pick and choose which sins He'll forgive and which He won't. When we ask, He forgives all!
Truth #3: God's forgiveness never brings up the past. Tucked away in the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament is this beautiful promise and I have changed the gender pronouns to "she" "If you walk in the way of life, none of (her) sins that (she) has committed shall be mentioned against (her)" (Ezekiel 33: 15, 16, K.J.V.). Our past with God isn't just forgiven…it's forgotten. This is something we can all rejoice about.
For David the gift of forgiveness was what he needed. What he longed for. A gift he didn't deserve but was given anyway by God's grace. Aren't you thankful, that as sordid a story as David's life was, the Biblical record allows us to see, up-close and personal, that even when we fall further than we could ever imagine, God's great heart of love is open to draw us back into the circle of His care.
I want to end our devotional today with this inspiring prayer by Joy Cowley:
"Dear God, I need to see myself as you see me. My own vision is fragmented. I try to divide up my life and reject those parts of me I consider to be weak. I waste time and energy in the battle of self against self and Lord, I always end up the loser
Dear God, help me to see myself as you see me. I forget that you made me just as I am and that you delight in your creation. You do not ask me to be strong; you simply ask me to be yours. You do not expect me to reject my weakness, merely to surrender it to your healing touch.
Dear God, when I can see myself as you see me, then I will understand that this frail, tender, fearful, aching, singing, half-empty, shining, shadowed person is a whole being made especially by you for your love."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.