Free Flow Forgiveness

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.
~ Lily Tomlin

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.  And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”  And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

~ Jesus, King of the Universe and forgiver of sin, in Luke 7

Oh beloved, there is a horrible truth.   The world is a horrible, mixed up place.  Nothing really works the way it should.  Nothing is holding together and decay is holding sway.  There is pain and desperation within even the fully-filled believer in Him.  Our inner man yearns earnestly for That Day.

Too many things are broken.  Too many people have been hurt.  Humpty-dumpty looks like a well put-together fellow in comparison to the wreckage of many of our pasts.  We have gutted the future of the innocent, and stolen the peace out of our own past.

But G_d.

Oh beloved, it is true.  And it is not just some construct designed to be some sop for our soiled consciences.  In Him, we have a new past.  And this is very good news.  The death that He died for us on the cross was so profound as to tear across the constraints of time and to actually crucify us along with Him.  We have but to look up at Him from our pit and yield to the work He has already done for us.

But it gets better.

As we died with Him on that day, we by His great power, were also raised with Him to a newness of Life that goes completely beyond reanimation and rehabilitation.  We have been made completely new creations in Him.

So, it is not like the past never happened.  It is just that all the injustice and brokenness of that past have been paid for and reconciled to the debt by a Force both very Loving and very just.

And this truth, for us very needy people (especially those of us forgiven of so much) creates an incredible dynamic in our new lives.  We can allow the past now to exist without cringing or flinching or wishing it had never happened.  It only exists as a reminder of the great Love with which we are loved and maintains in us a mind changed to ever want to do the right thing in the future. 

And, oh my, can we see it?  This new past is the very solid platform upon which our love for Him and others can grow.  Since it is not the work of our own fallen selves to start loving like we should – rather it is the infinite Love of an infinite G_d who is Himself Love – we can begin to love like He Loves.  We actually begin to have a lovingkindness towards others that waxes new every morning and grows as His Life grows in us. 

We become, like Him, people of true compassion who can freely step into the messy worlds of the people around us, and simply love them and point them to Him.  The pain of our past becomes, in fact, a help to those still hurting.  And this is true because we can show them the pain in the light of the change that He has wrought upon it.

This, dear friends, is very good news.

Thank you, Father, for these tears that have carried me to the depth of your love. How could I have known your fullness without the emptiness, your acceptance without the rejection, your forgiveness without my failure, our togetherness without that dreadful loneliness. You have brought me to Gethsemane, and oh, the joy of finding you already there! Amen.
~Bonnie Barrows Thomas