Last night, I was driving home from Bible Study and a song came on the radio. It was a song I love and know the lyrics by heart, but last night, the following words cut me like a knife. I, literally, felt sick to my stomach…
I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
The words “turned away with a smile on my face”, even right now, still make me sick. I do that! We do that! We spit on Jesus’ face, walk away and do whatever it is we feel like doing.
Now, that I, hopefully, made you feel like crap…let me tell you the flip side…
In 1833 (United States v. Wilson), the Supreme Court made the following decision when a man rejected a presidential pardon he had received: “A pardon is a deed to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.”
In essence, pardon can be given, but we have the freedom to choose it or not. So, let’s say, you are sitting in jail, chained to the wall. The person who you committed the crime against drops all charges and he, himself, opens the cell, and cuts the chains allowing you to walk away in freedom, but you in your genuine remorse choose to stay in the cell. Does that seem ridiculous to you?
Then why do we choose to sit in the cells of our past sins and continue to stew over them when God, the One who ALL sins are ultimately against, drops all charges, unlocks the chains and the cell and tells us not only to walk in freedom, but to walk with Him?
Now, let’s dwell on that for a bit…Your friend whom you love and has been your best friend for as long as you can remember does something horrible. (It can be as “simple” as stealing some money from you or gets involved with your husband.) Your heart-broken. Devastated. You can’t believe she would actually do this to you, but you know her heart and can forgive her. Okay. Wonderful. Now, to the shock and obvious disapproval of everyone, you go back to being her friend like nothing ever happened. No recovery period. No “give me some time and I will come around”. You say, I forgive you, let’s go out to lunch. Unbelievable, huh?
That is what God does for us. We go to Him, confess and turn away from our sins and then, He doesn’t forget what we did, He chooses to not remember them.
Okay, now, that you have forgiven your friend and you ask her to lunch, she says “I’m sorry. I just can’t. What I did was so horrible. I just can’t accept your forgiveness.” Basically, “thank you for removing the chains and unlocking the cell, but I’m going to stay here until I think I deserve to come out.”
We have every right not accept the “pardon” and choose not to rekindle that friendship and not walk in freedom, but that doesn’t mean that the pardon hasn’t been extended to us. So…
God has chosen not to remember, will you?
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.