White as Snow

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Blood stains the brilliant white of the snow
My sins are scarlet; where shall I go?
Seeking to entrap, death chases me
I am guilty; where can I flee?

Let us reason, my LORD pleads,
Return; your Advocate will intercede
For a broken heart I will mend
A contrite spirit will not offend.

 
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Heinous scarlet shall be like glistening snow
Crimson stains purged clean, your heart hallowed
Exacting judgment meted on the cross
Innocent blood covers the ugliest dross.

Grace is free and resurrection power is given
Obey the Spirit for true and joyful living
Make no room for selfish lust or slavish fear
Your Redeemer overcomes in glory and draws you near.

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The Not So Simple Act of Forgiving

Forgiveness is a tricky thing. Nobody can “just forgive,” not even God. First, it is impossible to “just forgive,”to just let the wrong go.

Forgive

Dictionary definition of the word Forgive.

“Let it go” sounds nice, but forgiveness is not a simple thing and never easy.  Every wrong has a cost. Someone always pays.  The cost of the wrong is paid in sleepless nights, damaged relationships, regret, lost trust …well, you get the idea…and that is just the beginning of the incredible cost. Besides, what if we really care about the person who violated what is right?  Is it in the best interest of the person for us to magically “let it go”? Would it be loving or just for society to overlook evil?   How much more so with God?

God’s justice is wrapped up in His essence. Psalm 85 10, 11If there is a God, there is a real justice.
If God lets injustice go, then there is no right or wrong.
If there is no absolute right or wrong, we have a paper doll god.  Please, don’t give me a paper doll god cut out in one dimension, a god of my own making.

Forgiveness gets really messy and complicated. Perhaps, that’s why we love fairy tales that serve us poetic justice and a “happily ever” after ending. So, bottom line…how does a real God deal with real wrong?

The one real God absorbed the wrong. All wrong has a cost, and God Himself chose to pay that price.  Together, God in the Father and God in the Son suffered for our great violations. There is a glorious complexity to the cross! A God who just forgives is not a holy God. A God who won’t forgive is not a loving God. A God who cannot forgive is not wise, for He does not know how to satisfy love and justice. In the cross, love, justice, and holiness are fully satisfied…”even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom.”Tim Keller wrath and love satisfied
On the cross, wrath and mercy were satisfied.  And on the cross, love wins.
This personal ransom is paid for me and for anyone who desperately needs real forgiveness and is willing to trust Him for everything.  Oh, how we need Him for everything!

 

 

The Son of Man takes the wrongdoer’s destruction and sets the heart free to love and forgive others.  Only a real God can satisfy so completely the high cost of righting wro
ng.

 

 

 

 

Tim Keller ransom for me

The Difficulty of Forgiveness

Forgiveness
is
difficult.
eye tear

The act of forgiveness requires two things:  mercy and justice.  It is impossible to divide love from absolute purity and goodness.  Is this not why hearts offended beat in turmoil? The heart gasps from the plunge of the sword into its warm, life-giving strength and feels the pain searing deep into the most secret, vulnerable and intimate places.  The heart weeps bloody tears because of the betrayal.  Bravely, it erects strong, steely barriers of protection to shield its Self from further injury.   Is this why the ancient struggle surrounding estranged hearts exists?  As much as one might want a relationship to be restored, we cannot do the required delicate and intricate heart surgery needed for both sides of the parties involved.  Let’s say my heart has been brought to a place of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive the person who has wronged me.  I can choose to relate to the person with a heart of forgiveness, but I have no capability to affect change in the other person.  Forgiveness only leads to reconciliation when both parties have experienced heart changes.

Jesus teaches about forgiveness and helps us dissect the heart.  His teaching reveals the heart’s greatest need.  Against external deeds of wrongdoing, Jesus offers a spectacular forgiveness.  It is unlike any other offer of forgiveness; for Jesus testifies, “I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people.” (Matthew 12:31).  He strongly states that there is no particular external deed that is off limits to the power of Jesus’s free forgiveness. Simply put, there is no offense so great that it cannot be forgiven by God. No matter what the offense, nothing will put a person outside the reach of Jesus’s all encompassing embrace of forgiveness and healing.  Jesus is the ultimate forgiver.

Yet, Jesus also acknowledges the perplexity of forgiveness when he says, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:32).  Here the knife of dissection moves internally to analyze the heart.

Unless a person confesses that he or she has done something wrong, they can never undo the damage.

Although I am completely incapable of affecting another person’s heart or affecting change on both sides of the conflict; God is able to not only forgive and justify the sinner, but he is also able to breathe life into the soul clinging to dust.  The Spirit of God informs the heart of its great offense, and the heart must listen and admit its wrongdoing (John 16:8). Jesus is basically saying that the Holy Spirit speaks truth, and a heart must turn and agree with his verdict.  A heart must not deny or speak against the truth spoken.  But, when the heart of man denies its part, blameshifts the wrong, and uses self-justifying excuses, there is no other remedy.  

Humility
is the key
that unlocks the heart
wrapped in denial.

Proverbs 27.19

 

A heart must desire forgiveness before intimacy will be restored.
Is your heart listening or resisting
words of healing and life?
Any wrong can be healed,
but without humility
nothing can be healed.