So much was running through my mind when I read Lawngren’s dream article from last Thursday, and a few of the songs I hogged the comments with also poked at my mind.
Failure, fear, loneliness, isolation, uncertainty, shame….are things that all of us go through at one time or another in our lives.
I’ve spent time writing before about how there is no one so bad they can’t be saved, and I know there are plenty of other articles and sermons which tell the same. Even the Bible is full of men and women whom God loved, used in mighty ways and yet… were prostitutes, murderers, adulterers, cowards and scoundrels. Read about Rahab the prostitute who ends up becoming an ancestor of the Royal line of King David, and also of Jesus’s earthly lineage. Speaking of David- he murdered a guy because he messed with the guy’s wife. And yet he is still mentioned as a man after God’s own heart.
Lawngren used Simon Peter and Judas as examples, whereas Simon Peter denied Christ three times, he was able to understand the depth of a love like no other, and that Jesus when He forgives, He forgives, and forgets.
The night that the disciples gathered with Jesus for what was going to be the “last supper”, remember what Jesus did before they ate? He washed the disciple’s feet. He knew that Peter would deny Him before the next morning, and He knew what Judas was going to do, and yet He still served them, loved them and forgiving them by giving them the chance… choice, to have their sins washed away.
Judas Iscariot didn’t believe, so even though he was despondent about betraying Jesus, he allowed that to drive him to suicide.
As mentioned, there will be times, plenty of them too it seems, when we feel shame, guilt, fear and failure for things we’ve done, experienced or had happen to us. I’ve known all of those for way too long and it’s hard getting though those times-but I’ve learned, the more I focus on Jesus, the more He directs my focus onto others or into His Word.
I guess it’s that whole “renewing of your mind” because while those feelings come still, they are more manageable than they used to be. Because I know for a fact that He has taken every hurt, fear, sin, every bit of shame, and failure to the cross with Him. It’s gone, and it’s true for anyone who puts their trust in Him.
No, we are human and can’t forget the past, even if we desperately try to- and boy we find all sorts of ways to try and bury or exercise the past. But Jesus can do what drugs, alcohol, and other ‘aids’ can’t- forgive and forget. Why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves? We can forgive others for things, sometimes horrible things they do to us, but when it comes to putting the past in the past and leaving it there, and forgiving ourselves, often times even still a thought or memory will come and leave one open to self destruction and criticism.
Remember Judas. He knew, but he didn’t trust Jesus at His word, nor did he want to face his own ‘demons’ which wouldn’t stop tormenting him since Jesus was arrested in the garden. How many of us are like that? If we’re honest, all of us are at one time or another. Maybe not to the level of Judas, but yet we still need to learn to trust God at His Word.
Psalm 103:12 reminds us,as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Now that’s kind of interesting thinking about it. How far is the east from the west? The author could have said from the moon and back, or from the rising to the setting of the sun… But no, he said from the east to the west. Think about it. The moon, while a far distance, is still a specific distance. While the sun travels our sky because of the earth’s orbit, the earth is still a specific distance from the sun.
But one can never get to the ‘end’ of the west no matter how far east one goes. There’s no specific definitive distance from east to west. One can travel west around the world but never find where the east ends. Get it? God removes them period. They are nowhere to be found once you ask for forgiveness from Him. Not only that but in the last part of Jeremiah 31:34 God says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
A mosaic image made of nearly 7,500 photos taken by NASA’s Hubble Telescope is ‘the largest and most comprehensive history book of the universe’, say scientists.
So even as far from the east is to the west, we’ve never seen the end of the universe, which God created, so I think we can take Him on His Word, that once He’s forgiven our sins, He will not remember them, bring it up or remind us of them.
As with everything in life, it all comes down to trust. I know it’d be good and nice to be able to trust yourselves, and some folks are very definitely trustworthy. But even still we are all fallible and things happen that we can’t control. It’s in those times trusting in the One Who is in control that we can find peace, forgiveness and mercy from our God.
Jesus loves us so much He experienced everything that we have, and endured what no one else ever has, and paid for our sins. There is no doubt about how much He loves us. Putting our trust in Him won’t make all those feelings disappear, but it will come that we won’t be gripped and held captive to them anymore, and you might even find that He is able to use your experiences to help someone going through similar, which is also a way of healing.
I started this article as usual with so many things on my heart to say, and totally wandered in a different direction that I intended. One of the things that Lawngren’s article did is open my mind to so many songs I’ve heard over the years of listening to Christian music, which describes so much the human emotion and God’s love that is like no other. Songs that have helped heal a lot of things, some that I’ve found it hard to forgive myself or forget my shame.
I’ve posted a song or two on the HB by a former Christian band from Canada called Downhere. They’re different and really good. This song is a relatively new find for me, although it’s been out for quite a few years, but wow, the lyrics are just right…
Music says so much more than I ever can, and in a way that the heart listens as much as the ear hears.
I know I post this one a lot, but it’s message is so real and true, hopefully anyone who needs to hear it, will. And believe.
Any songs you can think of to describe God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and ever present help, we want to hear those too. Have a blessed day all.