Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Praising God. . . for forgiveness

No, these aren't my kids, or me, but they could be!
Early this morning, exactly fourteen minutes after I woke my kids up, World War III broke out in my house. The details of it aren’t very important, but the fight started over the boy teen calling the girl teen names, and the girl teen wanting the boy teen to not do something he was doing. Honestly, as a mom these are the moments when I need the wisdom of Solomon—in fact, I need more wisdom than Solomon in these moments. . . really, I just wish Solomon would take over for me in these moments.

However, Solomon didn’t come rushing over to my house, and I have to admit I didn’t handle this battle very well, and instead found myself joining them in the insanity of family wars, and all before breakfast.

Which leads me to another reason to praise and worship my God: forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 tells the Christian what they have to do to obtain God’s forgiveness. It says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So, for a Christian who has a bad morning like mine, the solution is super simple: take a deep breath, turn to God, and be cleansed. It’s as easy as that! Of course I had to go to my daughter as well, and let her know I didn’t handle that very well. But, there’s no more guilt, no more beating myself over the head, no more worrying about it, nothing but clean, clear freedom from sin and guilt.

This too is somewhat different from what I experienced before. You see, before I understood my responsibility to be perfecting myself by slowly but surely overcoming sins like anger, until sometime in the future when I would truly be better and then would truly be worthy in God’s eyes. Because of that point of view when I had a morning like today in my past life, I would be plagued with guilt and frustration at my own inability to perfect myself. I would experience a guilt trip, and in my guilt, call out to God for forgiveness this “one” time, and promise Him that once again I would not do this thing again. . . It truly was a constant pursuit for perfection, and one in which I failed all the time.

The trouble with that point of view is that it makes a person like a rat on a treadmill, running, and running, and running but never really getting anywhere because as soon as they stop they just fall back down to the bottom.

Biblical Christianity however, is based on the God who created us, who knows us intimately and knows exactly how to make human beings into His image. God knew that I would have mornings like this when a battle between children could so easily draw me in. Because of that He didn’t ask me to “try harder” to avoid that kind of situation (when the kids leave for college I might finally get that lesson!), but instead He told me He would perfect me while in this situation by working in me, forgiving me when I fail, and making me into the person He wants me to be.

And you know what? I see that happening. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and when God changed me, but He has. His Holy Spirit within me works in me all the time. His Holy Word shows me what He wants of me, and when I fail, He speaks to me, showing me that I did, indeed, react in a wrong manner. The proof of that is truly in the “fruit of the Spirit” that I see in my life: more love, more joy, more peace, more self-control, more faithfulness, more kindness, more long-suffering.(see Galatians 5 for what the Bible has to say about the fruit of the Spirit.)

So today I praise God because He is a God who works in His children, changing them, growing them, and most of all forgiving them when they fall.  

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