Whew!!! We got a lot of theology that we unpacked (not nearly as much as we could have) and now let’s get practical.
I hate stripped-bolts, screws or rounded oil-drain plugs. I have encountered them at various junctures of my life but I met a nasty one underneath my van a couple of weeks ago when I was changing the oil. Apparently I put the drain plug on too tight and it had rusted a smidgen so the more I tried to get the thing off with a socket-wrench, the more the plug became rounded. So I went to my tool-box and tried a couple of things to no avail so I did some research and found out that I needed some Vise-Grips to get the plug off. Perfect, because I had some in the house…or so I thought. One of my kids misplaced them (probably near the lost city of Atlantis) so I had to go to Lowe’s to purachase another set. I got home, clamped the rounded plug and voila…it came off. Why did it come off? Because I’ve got mad skills!!!
In a sad way we approach our spirituality, marriages and relationships with the notion that we can fix everything like a complex problem. If we can create nuclear energy, the lunar module and the hydrogen bomb then surely we have the capabilities to fix things on our own. The truth is that a relationship with God does not work on the basis of us fixing things. Yes we repent of sins…yes we confess our faults…we we are required to do things (see James 2) but the truth is that nothing can be done without God. Forgiveness functions in that realm of God-only and it is something our problem-solving mentalities has to give up. We have to let God do what ONLY God can do.
“But you don’t know what I have done Robbie. If you only knew the depths of my sin then you would understand why God would not want to forgive me!” Really? Are you going to carry that guilt with you to the grave and perhaps hell because you can’t believe God would/can forgive you? Have you not opened your Bible? Have you not heard of Abraham lying, David committing adultery and Peter denying Christ and every single one of those were forgiven? Have you not heard about the nation of Israel? Maybe you just do not want to face reality because this sin in your life has been there and to really let this thing go would mean to move on from it. In some confusing way forgiveness to you is not a possibility because this sin has been your friend for so long.
Scripture is chalk-full of stories of God’s redemptive forgiveness to all kinds of people regardless of class, race, situation or story.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
From the least to the greatest is Hebrew hyperbole for saying, “everyone.” Are you afraid of what might happen if you let God forgive you? Do you think he will take you places you are not sure you are ready to go? That is not a God-problem…that is a me-problem. God is ready to let things go but the question is, “Are you ready to let God?”