Friday, February 27, 2009

Forgiveness vs. Escapism

"Because the sinless Savior died, My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied, To look on Him and pardon me."

I remember being young (I know, 27 is totally not at old, thanks). When I was a kid, and I'd do something stupid and selfish, or something I knew was wrong. Not simply because "mom didn't want it done", but something that actually offered to injure a relationship with a family member or a friend at school. I would feel horrible. But sometimes, something like that would be done, and I wouldn't get caught. You know the feeling of waiting, wondering if you'll get caught?

Then that moment, where some other kid gets the blame/punishment. Or better yet, no one notices at all and/or chalks it up to randomly happening. In either case, you know you've escaped. There will be no punishment. Maybe you feel bad for the poor kid that got blamed, but you figure it's better than you - and he probably did SOMETHING to deserve it right? You've escaped. It's as if it never happened. Freedom of guilt = freedom of conscience, right?

I think sometimes we're tempted to treat the sin/broken relationship we've been forgiven of that way. At least, I see it in teens sometimes, and it seems a popular place in the faith journey. I have been forgiven of my sins, and I do a sort of arm pump saying, "Yessssss!" I've escaped. I'm free from the punishment. My focus is on my freedom/separation from punishment.

But the forgiveness God offers us is more than that. Not that it's completely easy to understand/grasp. But that Jesus would willingly offer His sinless self out of love to carry our sins. That God would offer His son (however that all works) as a sacrifice. Thankfully, He was also resurrected so that the one who bore our sin now stands as our Lord and represents us before the Father.

However it all works, and however it all can be talked about in words - I'm grateful for the illustration of Love that communicates. I pray that I can be faithful to the Love that's been shown to me, and that I might even be used to illustrate that kind of love to others...

May we remember this week....we have been forgiven, not "let off the hook". There's a lot of Love going on here. :)

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