Mamas and Daddies, help me out. Your kids inevitably mess up sometimes. When that happens, occasionally you become frustrated or even angry at the fact that they knew better and made the wrong decision…but tell me this: Is there ever a time when you wish they would just wallow at your feet in guilt and misery, begging for your forgiveness over and over again for days? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that would just shatter you, wouldn’t it? That would show you that your child does not believe that you are a forgiving mama, or a gracious daddy. It would show you that your child may not understand your goodness and true love for them.
I once heard a story about a little boy who accidentally broke his mother’s favorite vase. He was completely distraught over the mistake and apologized to his mother two or three times, showing her the broken pieces of the vase. Of course, she forgave him and threw the pieces into the trash, letting the whole ordeal go. The little boy immediately retrieved the pieces from the trash and apologized again, “Mama, I’m sorry. Here are the pieces. Please forgive me.” His mother assured him that he was forgiven, and she threw the pieces away again and forgot about them. A third time, the little boy retrieved the pieces and apologized with tears in his eyes. His mother took the pieces and put them in the trash, asking him, “Why do you keep bringing me the pieces I’ve already forgotten? Sweetheart, you’re already forgiven. Let it go. I let it go the very first time you apologized. I’m sad that you continue to hurt over a forgiven mistake.”
Remind you of anyone? That is me. Maybe it’s you, too. When we sin, we take our broken pieces to the Lord to show him openly what we’ve done. We ask for his forgiveness with a truly sorry heart, and we are immediately forgiven. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Then, it’s over. We learn from that mistake and we move on. We are forgiven the first time we ask, and God doesn’t keep bringing it up. If you’re like me, you hear a voice telling you that you aren’t forgiven and you better keep asking. You better keep that guilty heart or you won’t be forgiven. You better keep thinking about this. It isn’t over. That voice isn’t God. That voice is the voice of darkness and your job is to walk in the light, friend.
When we abide in the truth that God is genuinely good and loves us with a deeper love than we can even understand, how can we possibly think he would desire our grovelling? Maybe you need to hear the truth that God is good and works for the good of those who love him (see Romans 8:28). Maybe you need to grasp the truth that you need to forgive yourself. For me, it’s both. I want to grasp and believe the heart of God- who he is, which leads to who I am in him (pure, clean, forgiven, image-bearer). There’s my proof that God doesn’t want a worried, anxious, guilt-driven child; the proof is simply God’s character. It isn’t who he is to draw those things out of us; it is his character to draw love and forgiveness out of us just as he displays those things toward and for us. I am forgiven, I am loved, and I can let it go.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children--
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.