WHEN IS AN APOLOGY SUFFICIENT?
Great is your mercy, O Lord. Psalm 119:156
When I've wronged someone, how many times do I have to say "I'm sorry" for mercy to be shown? In this world, the greater the offense, the more times a repeated apology is necessary. Restitution can be steep as the other party decides what it's going to take to make them happy. It's usually something that, in their eyes, equals the severity of the crime.
Jesus paid my debt to God. His death was saying to His Father, "I'm sorry", on my behalf. Sorry for rebelling, for glorifying myself, for spurning His love. All I have to do to access God's merciful response is acknowledge my sin and ask for forgiveness. Then, it's mine. No reservations. Nothing given piece-meal. God does not require a repentance that is steep enough to match my crime. Jesus already gave that. God forgives when I ask the first time and washes the condemnation away. The memory of my offense is out of sight and behind His back.
Is. 30:18 "The Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy toward you." What about the times I'm a prodigal? What of the times I go off and really blow it with God? The offense is so bad that I dread the thought of ever being in God's presence again. Surely, I will be struck dead. I'll feel a sense of His displeasure for years to come, right? Because look how badly I sinned. Satan writes and directs this mini-movie that plays out in the hearts of the afraid. God is portrayed as the angry, spurned Father who will never truly be satisfied with a simple, sincere apology.
My Father is just waiting to be gracious to me. He has mercy in His hands. On the tip of His tongue is the cry for a party to be given to honor my homecoming. For any who have transgressed, then come limping home, we testify to the great love of the Father that envelopes us the moment we repent. In the presence of so great a love, we wonder why in the world we waited so long to find our way home.
There aren't the words to truly convey what your mercy is like. Show us and send our preconceived ideas packing. Amen