Mercy and Grace!
By Rose Newman
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Cover and Title page painting
Copyright © by Thomas Blackshear II
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Copyright 2017 Rose Newman
All Rights Reserved
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Mercy and Grace!
Copyright © by Thomas Blackshear II
I have found that when someone innocently causes another person to be hurt, usually an offer of understanding and reconciliation proceeds in an effort to put it right. However, what if the victim has been hurt so badly that forgiveness is too difficult and sometimes even almost impossible? Depending on the severity of the offense, healing could take a very long time and even then, we may try to forgive, but often, we are unable to forget. Each circumstance is different and of course produces a different set of painful consequences.
It is my intention that some of the instances of times in my life when I have experienced hurtful emotional and physical pain, that somehow one of them may be an instrument of help and healing to the reader.
I would also like to pass on the truth that so many people don’t realize. Forgiveness is not always something we do for other people. When we choose to forgive, we are actually doing it for ourselves, to get well, and so free our hearts to move on.
I remember being so utterly devastated one day when my “always wanting to help” had gone sour on me. I had written a letter; personally addressed to a very dear friend with a little message I thought would help her to cope with a current family situation. She had told me of the problem she was experiencing. The letter was my way of giving some kind, loving “help”. However, somehow, the very one who was unintentionally causing the problem, opened the letter first. I soon found out that instead of helping her, I had made it so much worse. What I had intended as advice was received as meddling criticism. A very serious altercation resulted between us. She phoned me, very angrily saying that I had ruined her life and would not be talking to me again for a very long time, if ever. She would not be answering any phone calls from now on then hung up. I just sat there; totally devastated. What had I done!
I frantically wanted to let her know that I never realized this could happen and how so very sorry I was. It was so hard not to be able to just pick up the phone and talk to her. I wanted to run to her house, give her a big hug, and cry the tears with her. During the days and weeks ahead, I cried so many tears of my own. I bought and mailed a “sorry” card to her immediately, but never heard a word. I tried to mail another, one a few weeks later, but it came back unopened and marked “return to sender”.
We had been such good friends for many years and I couldn’t bear to think that I had caused her so much pain. Now, she was really hurting and it was all my fault. How could I “fix” it and tell her I only meant to help her and definitely not my intention to cause hurt to anyone? How could I let her know how much this was hurting me too? I sent a few more cards as time went by, all returned or totally ignored, but I couldn’t just forget it.
A year later, this situation was eating away at me. The fact that I had so badly hurt such a dear friend, I had to do something about it. I decided that I would try to find out if she lived at the same place and I would make a surprise visit “with my heart in my hand” so to speak. I prayed for God to give me peace about this and not to be afraid of rejection. I would personally go to say how sorry I was and try to explain. A few weeks later, I woke up one morning just sensing the peace I had been praying for. A lovely little song about peace was singing in my mind. Knowing this was God helping me, I decided that this was the day to go. I would not be fearful. This had to do this. I told myself that I least I will have tried.
As my car rounded the corner and I saw the front door, my heart pounding, I left the car carrying a small bag with prints of some old photographs we had taken on our last outing together. They were from my camera so she had never seen them. As I pulled in the driveway and walked to the door, I felt so peaceful. I really wasn’t afraid. I was just determined. I had to say sorry and try to put it right.
When she answered the door, and saw who it was, she looked shocked for a few seconds as I handed her the photographs in a gesture of friendship. To my total surprise, she took the bag and asked me to come in. Before I could say anything, she had put the photos on a table in the living room and invited me to sit on the couch while she immediately excitedly started to explain about a new small business adventure she was trying. It was as though she didn’t even remember what I had done to her. When she invited me to stay for lunch, I couldn’t believe this was happening. As I ate the soup with her, I was so overwhelmed with joy at this unexpected reunion that tears welled up in my eyes. She looked at me and smiled. I just melted and continued trying to eat the soup through the tears. She looked at me and smiled. I just melted and continued trying to eat the soup through the tears. It seemed that somehow she had forgiven me, even though not really forgotten I’m sure. Perhaps my mailed attempts to say sorry had not been totally ignored after all but she never let me know. When it was time for me to leave, we hugged and said we would keep in touch.
I was just flabbergasted as I got back in the car. I was really expecting that she might reject me and close the door when she saw who it was. Now we were back as friends again and my heart felt so relieved. I knew that God’s love had healed the hurt and pain for both of us. His timing and plans are perfect even though we seldom see it that way when going through a rough spot in our lives.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 (ESV)
Whoever made up that old saying had probably never gone through the awful pain and hurt of suffering through verbal abuse from someone they loved. Often our words can do more harm than a physical attack. A hasty word spoken in anger, an attitude of severe superiority, an unwarranted form of strong discipline, will each produce a total control over almost every situation. These things along with careless, cruel words can be so damaging to someone’s emotional state. Especially from someone who supposedly loves you.
During my lifetime, I have had opportunity to experience a few separate instances of situations like this and many times my tongue has been my worst enemy. Of course, I meant well, and knew my intentions were loving and kind, always. It’s so hard to understand how such a small, miraculous muscle speaks wisdom, healing, and love, in one instance, and yet can render such hurt and awful damage. Many a time, I have suffered the consequences of the words from this tongue, only to find, that I had to battle through that awful task of trying to forgive myself.
Often it seemed so much easier to put it all in the back of my mind, pretend it never happened and try to forget, but seldom does that work. Many a time, all that happens is the hurt eats away at us on the inside and does so much damage to our health.
When this happens to a child, they have little or no defence. They can’t win against an adult or “fight back” in such a way that changes anything. Where do they turn for help? They suffer silently, going into a deep shell or rebel in ways that are often damaging to their own well-being and with subsequent, severe consequences, innocent victims of verbal abuse. No man is an island. It is most often becomes a vicious unseen enemy. No bruises or scrapes to show the battle. Sadly, I have seen that when a parent abuses a child, it may be years before the truth of what has happened actually surfaces.
Other times it can be an obvious occurrence and the spouse is desperately trying to change it while suffering as well. Sometimes, to be able to cope, the spouse will try to pretend it’s getting better or desperately try to remove it from their memory to survive day-to-day. It’s so sad how families and relationships seem to suffer the most.
In the few experiences I have encountered with friends and extended family members, I have come to realize that often the abuser actually misses out on so much joy and love that otherwise would have been given by the injured ones. Even in the movies, we often see fathers and mothers alienated from their children, missing family gatherings, happy times at holidays etc. All because of some kind of conflict that does not get resolved. It’s so sad! I always love the part where through some miracle, one of them gives in to the struggle and both parties realize it’s time to call a truce. They soon remember how love feels again and during the years that have elapsed, come to realize all they have missed. Sadly, though in real life, this is not always the case.
Sometimes even the abuser suffers the effects of the broken relationship and deep down is very sorry it has turned out this way but is too ashamed to come forward and admit the guilt of what has occurred. This is where merciful and compassionate hearts need to surface.
Often a family member will find it very awkward to attend family gatherings because of who may be there and stay away from loving interaction with the others. Life is just too short to be continuing the offence, not forgiving the offender and making it uncomfortable for others innocently connected somehow. Forgiveness and restoration brings joy to all those suffering the separation.
I am convinced that there is always a reason why people act the way they do. Perhaps living out what they had gone through as a child themselves, not realizing they are making the same mistakes too. Sometimes still suffering the emotional damage brought on by similar abuse, they themselves already suffered. It can often be an un-remedied medical problem too. Perhaps to be able to understand more, we need to “walk a mile in another man’s shoes” so they say. They too could very well be victims of the past.
Of course, again, this may not be the case. Depending on the personality, often they can be just too proud to admit that they were in the wrong. Saying sorry can be so difficult for some people and being unwilling to try can be to their own demise. Perhaps not even realizing that loving compassion, followed by reconciliation can bring such peace to body and mind.
However, in both cases, many times the damage takes years to heal. It takes so much courage, strength, and compassion to consider accepting an apology. Depending on the severity of the offense, healing could take a very long time. Even then, we may try to forgive but sad to say, I think it’s almost impossible to forget such an ordeal. Only God can forgive and forget, and even then, He actually “chooses not to remember”. But He can bring about” beauty from ashes” and even “restore the years that the locusts have eaten”. We can ask God to help us. He will if we are sincere in our efforts to try to make amends.
God even graciously chooses not to remember the wrongs we have done to Him. True forgiveness is something we can only give or receive according to what we feel in our hearts, and unfortunately Mercy and Grace are not normal traits to us; those virtues belongs only to God.
It just boggles my mind when I consider all the pain and agony Jesus went through to grant forgiveness to us for all the years of ignoring His love. Refusing to accept His offer of Salvation, our behaviour separated us from a relationship with a Heavenly Father who loves us so much. Jesus forgave us for all of this because of His great love and He willingly gave up His own life to prove it! Surely, I can forgive someone who has wronged me with what now seems to be so much less of a hurt and consequence in comparison. An unforgiving spirit, even though seemingly justified can eat away at our insides causing even more damage, and often even serious sickness. It often seems impossible, but sometimes for our own good, we have to seek to mend a broken relationship even when we have been the victim. A sincere hug of forgiveness brings so much emotional healing to both parties and broken pieces become re-moulded into something beautiful again. With God’s help, I have done that many times and I was the one who received the most joy.
“And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor.” Job 11:18-19 (ESV[_)_]
A few years ago, I attended a very sad funeral of an extended family member. Quite often, a funeral chapel is a place where we meet many people we haven’t seen for a long time. On this occasion, we arrived at the specified time but noticed some key family members were still not there. It was almost time to start the memorial service when we heard what sounded like a scuffle and muffled conversations at the door. It only lasted a very short while so we just dismissed it as not important. Even though the missing family members had still not arrived, the daughter of the deceased took her place at the front and the service began. It seemed a little odd to us that the officiating clergyman seemed to know very little about the man who had died and there was only one short eulogy given.
When it was over, as there was to be no reception held at the building we were in, we received directions to a nearby restaurant for lunch. We all gathered and talked to some of these dear grieving people.
We remembered from long ago that there had always been problems between some of his siblings. We noticed there were some family members at the restaurant that we never saw at the chapel. Some were obviously more upset than others were but we couldn’t believe what we hearing. We knew that sadly, there were still things not resolved between them.
When the deceased man first knew his illness was terminal, one of his siblings tried to reconcile their differences and put things right between them. Sadly, the attempt failed, so he had to leave the home still very hurt and frustrated. Apparently, a similar thing had happened with a sister too. Then we found out what had happened at the door of the chapel. It seemed that he had previously told his only daughter, who had arranged the memorial, that he didn’t want any of those particular siblings at his funeral. When she saw them at the door, she told them that she was carrying out her father’s wishes. Expecting them to show up of course, she had arranged help from a few others, and was actually able to stop them coming into the chapel. They couldn’t believe it. It seemed so cruel and of course, they were devastated.
I have learned that knowledge of the two sides of any story gives wisdom. Knowing the circumstances of what and how each person felt, or was forced to do at the time, can often shed some light on the issue. Had they been told, or surmised some incorrect facts? The most accurate way of getting the truth straight, in my mind, is at least making an effort to find out the reason why it happened at all.
It didn’t take long for us all to realize that this poor man had gone to his grave still not wanting to forgive his own siblings. Yes, it was too late…for them and for him. I’m sure God was not smiling at what had happened that day. It was so very sad.
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (ESV)
Many years ago, I found out how devastating it can be when we have been severely wronged and hurt by something never expected to happen. An incident like that just throws us off balance; resulting in so much anger, and hurt to our very being.
A person who should never have been allowed or able to do it had hurt someone I loved very dearly. I could not put it right, it had already happened. I felt so justified to lash out and accuse and blame; no thought of forgiving whatsoever. I had the right to feel the way I did about such an awful thing. Even though the offence was not directly committed towards me, I knew there was nothing I could do to make it go away or to fix it for the person I loved so much. I was shocked and devastated at the same time. Actually, I was furious.
As time went on the hurt was eating away at me and my anger towards the offender was growing instead of becoming less. Close friends and family members could see the effect this was having on me. I knew it too but the hurt was too deep to fix. I tried hard to put it in the back of my mind but finding it was impossible.
Many years earlier, I had committed my life to God, experienced for some time that He was real, and loved me very much. Many a time when something like this happens, the victim will blame God and even be mad at Him for letting it happen. Somehow, I knew this wasn’t the case with my problem. This was the result of a bad decision and its consequences. I knew it was eating away at me inside and somehow I just couldn’t let it continue. It was hurting me so much more than I had ever imagined, day and night I thought of nothing else, I talked of nothing else, it was taking over everything I tried to do.
By this time, I could sense it was even hindering my relationship with God. I almost felt like I was trying to hide from Him … knowing that I was supposed to forgive, always. However, how could I do that? Every Sunday I would go to church with my family knowing that I could never look at the beautifully lit image of the empty cross that portrayed our risen Saviour. It was very hard to miss seeing it. It was right on the front wall facing us all. I walked in with my hands in front of my eyes and sat as far away as possible.
Quite a few weeks even months passed by. It seemed that every week the sermon was speaking directly to me. I was being so stubborn, still hurting so much, and still so angry inside. Eventually one of the sermons really got to me. Tears were streaming down my face. I knew what I had to do. When it was over, I asked if I could set up a meeting with the Pastor but I never actually went. When I got home, I realized how badly this was affecting my health. I got down on my knees and prayed, just quietly thinking to myself for quite a while. Then the tears started again and I knew He was telling me that somehow I had to forgive. I prayed that God would give me the strength and courage to do this and asked Him to help me.
I never did go to the offender and demand an apology. Even though I was willing, no forgiveness was happening, but in my heart, I told myself that I was finally going to have to deal with it. I was not going to let it take over my life any longer. I asked God to forgive me for being so stubborn and for allowing it to fester in my life that way. I knew God wanted me to forgive but I was so hurt.
As time went by, it became less and less the topic of my thoughts and I sensed peace was finally returning to my once sleepless nights. It was out of my control to fix this. I had tried, there was nothing else I could do, and I had to live with it. Of course, I knew I would never forget but I vowed I was not going to let it have control over me any longer. I could look at that cross again and feel a sense of diminished pain.
I am surprised that I can actually write this now without any severe remorse other than I will never forget the feeling of my separation from God. It seemed like such a long time. Only God can forget, but I know that He helped me to have the strength and courage to do what I knew was the only thing to give me peace.
“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.” Psalms 71:20 (ESV
Of course, I am no expert in psychology by any means; I can only speak of my own experiences, but as I grow older, and my children are now parents themselves, I can remember many instances of being hurt in my life. Yet, I have come to realize that depending on the number of years gone by; there are probably so many more good things than bad ones.
Somehow, my memories are rather selective though when it comes to emotional hurt and in many cases that can be a good thing. Many times, I find that I am often prompted by someone to think of the good times, realizing just how much of it has been tucked away in my memory while the cause of my hurt seem to be always up front. Often recalling the good times can have a wonderful healing effect, whereas remembering the bad ones can so easily keep the damage alive and even increase the memory of the pain.
I have often tried to figure out a “what if” scenario. When and where did the relationship become broken? Was there anything I could have said or done at the time to change the circumstances of the situation? Could I have unknowingly been a contributor to the problem? Perhaps I was responding with a selfish attitude. Was I part of the problem? Even worse, did I cause this to happen? Then I wonder did I do enough or even anything to try putting it right?
When I have been badly hurt, I tend to stay away from that person and avoid them at all costs; the reminder of it is too painful. However, as time goes by, I may have had time to try to understand what really caused it and perhaps there may even still be a way of getting rid of this awful pain that keeps recurring and continuing to hurt me. I have learned now that knowledge of the two sides of any story gives wisdom. Knowing the circumstances of what and how that person felt or was forced to do at the time, can often shed some light on the issue. Sometimes, we have surmised, some incorrect facts. The most accurate way of getting the truth straight in our minds could be to find out the reason why it happened at all.
There is an old saying that says “children learn what they live”. I have found this to be true in many cases. Often a child will imitate their parents. A Proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Therefore, even as adults many of the parental behavioural habits and such are ground into their very nature. We find they are still unknowingly imitating them. Sadly, many times their offspring end up enduring the same kind of hardships from this now second-generation parent. This cycle can be broken of course, but it takes a unique kind of recognition of the problem and a conscious effort to break it. Often this may take many years and even generations.
In many cases, I find that the truth can set us free. Free from the anguish and pain inflicted on this new generation by victims of their own childhood pain; often innocently inflicted as what they themselves experienced as normal. Often, they too can be in the middle of such behavioural patterns while being totally unaware that they are hurting people.
This is definitely not easy to apply and takes a lot of courage. It needs a strong desire to want to end the pain by trying to understand and often there is a reason for the persistent, hurtful, behaviour that the offender may have inflicted.
There is also a strong possibility that an innocent, closely related person such as parent or even a spouse, is trapped in the middle of it, and hurting just as much, or even more than we are. Maybe it could even be the start of breaking the chain of a long line of past experienced, parental behavioural patterns. Forgiving and letting go of the pain, will free them and us from the hurtful situation.
Sadly, sometimes, when the offender isn’t ready or willing to change behavioural patterns, all we can do is try to get on with life as best we can and ask God to give us the courage to silently forgive, in our hearts, and give it over to Him. Of course, this changes nothing in the life of the offender, but there is no longer an opportunity to hurt us further and we are free. It is not our place to judge others. The offender will have to face God eventually and give Him an account of it all. He alone is the true judge and He alone will decree the penalty. Then it will be too late to say sorry to anyone. How sad!
“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” Psalms 27:5 (ESV)
A year or so later, a dear neighbour of mine was over for coffee. We often talked about our troubles and triumphs of daily living. Being very sympathetic about my past problems, we started to talk about how I was coping now. It didn’t take too long before she realized that I was so much better, both mentally and physically. This really sparked her interest because she too had been struggling through a very similar ordeal. Being curious about why and how I was doing so well she asked how I did it.
I proceeded to tell her that forgiving was the answer. I could see the frown on her face. We both knew that for her it was almost impossible. I smiled gently and told her that I knew exactly how she felt. Been there, done that! She could see on my face and sense the peace I had now. She wanted to know what had happened, I didn’t know if she had a relationship with God or had read her Bible or prayed much, but I felt I had to tell her how I had been set free from the pain and awful power that my situation had been holding over me. It didn’t matter to me if she felt I was pushing my opinions on her, she was my friend, and she knew I cared about her deeply. I had learned that “forgiveness is unlocking a door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner”. Max Lucado.
It took a little while explaining it all, about how I had always known in my heart that the only way to be set free from all this anguish was to follow the examples of Jesus and somehow decide to forgive the one who had hurt me so much. I had to hand the hurt over to Him and let Him do it for me. Her face was still questioning her ability to do that. I could tell she was really struggling.
I found out from her that she did believe in God, but she didn’t pray much or read the Bible. She knew we were supposed to forgive people but this was such a big one. The consequences were devastating for her. She looked at me with her sad eyes. I so much wanted to help her. I knew God could help her too but she needed to believe for herself and trust Him as I had done before she would see any results.
Finally, she became convinced in her own mind that probably the only way to be free of the pain, as I experienced, was to follow the same direction I had taken. She said she was willing to try trusting God to help her. I gave her a big hug and we cried together. Even then, I’m sure she already felt some release from the pain. I prayed with her and asked God to forgive her for being so stubborn in holding back the forgiveness of her offender as He had done for me. I asked God to give her that same peace and the courage to forgive that He had given me.
I knew she needed a close relationship with God to get through this. She promised to read the Bible and pray often, while the healing process went on and she became set free from the power her situation had been holding over her too. So again, we prayed for this and I could see the peace already on her face. It felt so good to be able to help her find the wonderful love of God and to be following the example of Jesus to forgive our enemies. We hugged again and I made a fresh cup of coffee.
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 (ESV)
Both of us realized that it is not always necessary to actually go to the offender and offer forgiveness. Once I tried to say sorry but had the door shut in my face saying that it was too late. Not many will actually even seek forgiveness for the pain they have caused. It can be embarrassing for them to admit to the offense. Sometimes they can be unaware that their offence has had such an impact on us. Often, hurt people tend to y hurt others unknowingly. Somehow, the cycle needs to end, but it can be very difficult and often takes a long time.
I have found that sometimes, as long as we are ready to give the offence over to God and let Him deal with it, the answer is actually just a determination in our own hearts that we will not allow the pain any longer. This type of forgiveness involves both Grace and Mercy on our part; a very special kind of love and humility that only God can give us. Mercy is getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we deserve. It takes great humility and great love.
As my friend was ready to leave, it was enough for both of us to know and feel the heartfelt willingness to forgive, to let it go and let God be our advocate. I was happy that she left feeling so much better. We met often after that. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy process for her but I knew she was not going through it alone now. A few times, she would call or come over and ask me to pray with her as the days went by. It was so wonderful to see that God was working it all out for her too, just as He had for me.
Please dear one, if you are reading this, and you too are going through such a very painful ordeal, seek out God, ask Him to help you do this. Hand it over to Him and let Him do it for you. You too can have His wonderful love to carry you through to a place in your life where you can be free from the power held over you by your offender. Such peace in your heart will put a true smile on your face. You will be free from the hurt and pain at last.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”.
2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
There have been times when we hear that a friend or family member is actually mad at God for not healing a loved one or, worse still, that dear one has died seemingly too young or through suffering. Being mad at God seems to be a different “kettle of fish”. The hurt runs so deep and seems so justified. How can we ever be relieved of that kind of pain? Sometimes the hurt is so bad, for so long, that it totally takes over the life of the grieving one; so very sad.
Of course, being mad at God like this means that the grieving one believes that He is real and has the power to give or take a life. Being angry with someone with that much power is not a very good idea. It really doesn’t help to heal the hurt either. It would be a little strange for Him to come to you and tell you He is sorry. How can anyone accuse or judge Almighty God for anything. He is the sovereign God of the universe. He has our lives planed for us from our birth. He knows when our time on earth is over, no matter how old we are.
So how can we find peace and comfort from God when He is the one who seemingly has caused it all? It all seems so hopeless. I can’t even think of how anyone could get through such an ordeal, or any similar situation, without having God to help them. He only ever wants what is best for us. Satan is the one who messes things up for us, but even then, he can only do whatever we allow him to do to us. Of course, there really is a solution, isn’t there. God always has a plan.
For us, when we try to forgive an offender, it often takes sheer determination, courage, strength, and humility, things we can find very difficult to do or even think about when the hurt is so bad. We have to try to free ourselves from the pain and bondage the hurt has caused in our lives. We may not know it at the time, but we will be so much better for it when it’s over, whether the offender even knows or accepts it. The power over us will have been broken because we have done what is required of us. Forgiven!
However, God’s plan of forgiveness for sinful man cost so much more than we would ever be willing to pay. God sacrificed His only Son the Lord Jesus, who suffered so much pain from cruel excruciating torture. Crucifixion was the most terrible death imaginable, yet Jesus even asked God to forgive those who hammered the nails into His hands and feet. He said they didn’t know what they were doing.
Take another look at the man on the front cover of this book; the painting by Thomas Blackshear II. See the pain and agony on the man’s face, did he realise that the hands he nailed to the cross was the one who paid the price for his salvation?
It must have been even more awful for God. He knew what was happening; knowing there was nothing that could change it. Jesus was carrying the whole payment for the sins of the world on that cross. The only perfect man who ever lived! God knew it was the only to provide us with the choice of forgiveness and for our relationship with Him to be reconciled. Now who is to blame?
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19 20
The old Jewish law from the days of Moses required the blood of a spotless, perfect lamb to become the payment required for committed sin. Jesus, the Son of God, was born to be the final sacrificial Lamb for the sins of all mankind. He was the only perfect man who ever lived so only His blood could pay for the sin of all the rest of us. Jesus knew this from the beginning and He willingly obeyed His Father’s will and died for us. Such a great unthinkable cost for both Father and Son yet they were both willing to go through with it because they loved us so much and were willing to give us another chance to decide to love them too.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why they called Good Friday “good”?
It seems to me that sad, black day could be misunderstood.
How His Father must have anguished as He watched His dear Son die,
And not for crimes that He had done, but for sinners such as I.
What kind of love could be so great, to suffer willingly
The penalty for someone else; His blood was shed for me.
But then when Sunday came around and death had lost its sting,
That glorious morn’ was victory for Jesus Christ, the King!
Now He’s alive for evermore. The Father’s will was done.
Forgiveness, pardon, full and free, by trusting in God’s Son.
It was a “good” Good Friday for the thief, who died there too,
He took his place in Heaven when that long, dark day was through.
I am grateful to my Saviour: my life to Him I owe.
I’ll serve and love Him always, because He loved me so.
All he asks is that we accept His sacrifice; to personally thank Him and ask Him to forgive us for all the wrongs we have committed against the holiness of a perfect God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him”. John 3:16 (NIV)
Our chance to begin a love relationship with Him will last forever. God is spirit and we have a spirit too. That part inside us lives forever, even after our bodies die and rot in the grave. When we thank Jesus as our Saviour, we are forgiven by His blood, as the Perfect Lamb sacrificed, once and for all. Then, His spirit will come to live in us and we become a Child of God. As long as our spirits belong to God before we die, we will spend eternal life with Him. If, at that time, our spirits do not belong to God however, then we are have not been forgiven and we are banished to be with Satan instead. We become separated from God forever.
We have a free will to choose where our spirit goes but we have to make the choice before our bodies die. Jesus paid the penalty for us so that our spirits could be declared innocent when we stand before God on our day of judgement. There will be no one else beside us to blame for what we have, or have not, done. We all have to meet Him face to face one day. That means you and me too.
Just think of it…when Jesus died on that cross, it wasn’t the nails in his hands and feet that held him there, it was his love for God, his Father, and most of all, His wonderful love for us. Look at the cover painting by Thomas Blackshear II again. The man is still holding the hammer and nails. See how Jesus is actually holding him in His arms. Feel the strength of the love and forgiveness radiating from Jesus. That is perfect Love, perfect Mercy, and Grace.
Full Pardon Granted!
All because of the Love, Mercy and Grace of God!
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them.”
John 3:36 (NIV)
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I have found that when someone innocently causes another person to be hurt, usually an offer of understanding and reconciliation proceeds in an effort to put it right. However, what if the victim has been hurt so badly that forgiveness is too difficult and sometimes even almost impossible? Depending on the severity of the offense, healing could take a very long time and even then, we may try to forgive, but often, we are unable to forget. Each circumstance is different and of course produces a different set of painful consequences. It is my intention that some of the instances of times in my life when I have experienced hurtful emotional and physical pain, that somehow one of them may be an instrument of help and healing to the reader.