Recently I found this that I wrote in my journal a year ago: Jesus has felt a deeper shame than any of us ever will, because when he was on the cross holding all of our sin(the past, present, and future sins of the WHOLE WORLD), God LITERALLY turned his back on him. We just FEEL like God can’t look at us when we’ve sinned…but it’s not true. Because of Jesus. God looks us right in the eye and sees Jesus. Always. No matter how deep we’re buried in sin. Because of Jesus. None of it’s because of me.
A few weeks ago my Lifegroup was studying Psalm 103.
Most of us have heard verses 11-12 by themselves. This time verse 10 hit me.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
And then verse 11 begins with “For…” which means it must connect with verse 10…
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; (12) as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
God doesn’t forgive us because we deserve it. Or because we apologized enough times or did enough good things to outweigh the wrong. He forgives us because he loves us.
If God, the perfect sinless God of the universe, can love us that much, horrible selfish sinful crazy humans, and love us enough to save us and forgive us…can’t we love other people that way too?
Of course we can. We should. We have to. If all of us who say we’ve been loved and forgiven like this would love and forgive everyone around us in the same way, think how much easier it would be for them to believe that God loves them even more than that?
That’s what it takes. That’s how the world will change. Not everyone has to turn their life upside down and move across the world, but all of us have to love whoever God’s put around us.
And that’s hard to do when you aren’t letting yourself receive love and grace from Jesus. If you’re striving for perfection and trying to earn the grace that Jesus already bought for you, if you’re spending all your energy proving that you’re worthy of love, people aren’t going to see Jesus in you. They’ll see the same frantic, imperfect version of love that the rest of the world has to offer.
Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could accept it and say, “Thank you, now watch me pay you back for it!” It’s a gift. He died so we could be free. (see Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9, and probably several others)
This kind of love is something to rest in. We don’t have to strive for it or worry about losing it. When we’re loving people from a place like that, that’s when Jesus shines out of us.
I’m talking to me more than anyone else. I don’t do any of this perfectly, or very well at all. These are all places where I’ve been painfully convicted lately and where I’m praying for God to grow me now, and sometimes I think out loud in case I’m not the only one who needs it.
Your life is a thank you note. Not a payment plan. Jesus took care of the bill. You just pass on all the goodness he’s given you and show others how to get in on it.
He’s good. So good. The best.