1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins
He is faithful and just to forgive our sins
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
I’m not exactly sure what went wrong. Maybe Sam had sat still a little too long on the loveseat snuggled up to his grandma….or maybe the cartoon we were watching was a little WILD for an 8 year old with attention deficit.
Whatever the reason, it happened suddenly and I didn’t see it coming…The “head butt”…a full body burst of energy that sent Sam’s small HARD head smashing into Grandma’s large SOFT mouth. It was a direct hit and it HURT!!!
Shrieking like a wounded cat I sprang to my feet…cupping my hand to my mouth. ”SAM,” I yelled, “You HURT Grandma!!!” Pulling back the hand I saw blood and I stumbled toward the bathroom to find a mirror. Following right behind was a wide-eyed boy. His pleas of repentance coming in rapid-fire! “I’m sorry, I’m sorry Grandma, sorry, I’m sorry!!!”….Calling back at him I said, “I know your sorry buddy, but you CAN’T jump up like that!”
The mirror showed what I could already feel…a BIG FAT oozing lower lip…(My new look would have made me the perfect “Rocky” movie stand-in) I tilted back my head and gingerly pulled down on the throbbing bubble of a lip. Time to access the damage…a pretty deep gash inside but all teeth were present and accounted for.
Standing beside me watching was penitent Sam, still reciting his apologies, “Sorry Grandma, sorry, sorry!” Without looking down I said again, “I know your sorry Sam…It’s OK…just please don’t do that again.” The damp cloth I was using to blot showed that the bleeding had mostly stopped…no stitches would be needed.
Finally I looked down into the worried face of Sam who was still standing beside me. I realized it then…after all his repentance, nothing I had said in response had satisfied him. The KIND of forgiveness I had offered wasn’t working for Sam. You know the kind…It says, “I’ll forgive you “IF” you don’t do it again. “Strings attached” forgiveness is NEVER good enough…because we know the truth…we very well may do “IT” again! No, a heart crushed down by guilt and regret needs SO MUCH more…a release, a pardon that is not of this world! God’s kind of forgiveness holds NOTHING against the one who causes hurt and pain. It’s hard to Imagine LOVE that would forgive like that…harder yet to imagine the COST that forgiveness required.
It was on a Roman cross where an offended God dropped the heavy barbell of our guilt onto the innocent shoulders of His son. It was then that the declaration of our acquittal came, from bleeding, swollen lips…”Father, forgive them,” and “It is finished.” Our debt of sin was PAID IN FULL…By His wounds we are healed… Now, all who look to the Father for mercy will NEVER be turned away…”
A broken and a contrite heart O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 57:17 ESV
I knew what I needed to do….I bent down low and pulled Sam close, looking into his eyes….I cupped his little face in my hands and I said three words….”I FORGIVE YOU”….
It was enough…His shoulders relaxed and he turned and ran off toward the play room ”voooming” his toy NASCAR on the wall as he went.
You know, real forgiveness….it makes ALL the difference!