Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Redemption through Forgiveness

I’m just in one of those modes again so I apologize in advance. Yet there is something that I just can’t seem to let escape my mind today. As I am sitting back chilling listening to a mixture of songs on my mp3. Some R&B by old and new school standards, some rap, some country and some rock/pop (just to show you how diverse my musical selection tends to be) I come across a particular song that sparks something in me. It’s Stevie Wonders beautiful rendition of the Bob Marley classic “Redemption Song”. As Stevie croons passionately over the pianos soft but impacting chants I start to think how God offers redemption through forgiveness.

Many if not all of us have found ourselves at points in life where we’ve chosen maybe that not so best path and it has had harsh impacts on our lives. Maybe we’ve been influence by friends or our own personal desires and gone astray and become prodigals. Maybe we just wanted a taste of the “forbidden fruit”, or felt pushed by our surroundings, struggles or annoyances and fell deep into the whole. Many of us have committed sins, not just against God but ourselves while seeking pleasure or just some kind of love or acceptance. We are only human right? We all have that strange yearning deep inside us craving something more. And lots of times it may lead us to go off track.

And unfortunately the world isn’t as understanding or fair as it should be. Sometimes instead of trying to examine why you’ve chosen or fallen down the rabbit hole they condemn, shame, kick and drive you down further that path. They label you an outcast, talk about you behind and at times in front of you. A second chance, forget about it! I know how it feels to feel that you are alone, to crave something more than what you have, to want to make that change even though society, family and friends won’t let you.

See all my rambling has brought me to this point. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is these two things. That God loves you and you need to love you. There is redemption through forgiveness! I know some of you are like how, when the people you may have wronged won’t forgive or cut you slack? Well I’m not talking about their forgiveness but the forgiveness that God offers through his son Jesus, and you forgiving you.

We’re all familiar with that renowned bible verse John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. For whosoever shall believe in him, shall not perish. But have eternal life”. And we all think like that Lauryn Hill song “can it all be so simple”. Could it really be as easy as saying “I’m sorry, and want to make a conscious effort in changing my life”? Crazy thing is…….. Yes it is. Yes it is as simple and easy as saying those few words. However the real challenge lies with you forgiving you.

We have a tendency to hold ourselves back. Even though God gives us a clean slate, we doubt ourselves and bring up our own past. We look in the mirror and instead of seeing the new creation God has made you, we see our old selves. Why? Many times it’s because the people we seek approval from won’t let go or we can’t really believe that all the horrible things we’ve done could truly be erased. But they are. Not in the physical obviously, but in the spiritual yes.

The physical is here not to haunt you but to remind of where you been or where you want to never return. It’s there to remind you that you are no longer that person and drive you to want to strive for better. People may never forgive you. Heck they may tell you they do but in the back of their minds that thought stays about who you once where or what you’ve done. This is why we are called not to live or lives for them or the world, but to live a life pleasing God.

And even as forgiven children we are still not perfect. And that is something else that distorts us and causes you to keep from really achieving redemption through forgiveness. We set this bar so high, forgetting that we are human trying to be perfect that when we fall, sometimes we refuse to get back up. Sometimes in our thirst to be perfect in God’s eyes we bring others down so we’ll look better. Yet the Bible clearly says “all fall short of the glory of God”. We will never be “perfect” in what we want to believe that is. In God’s eyes we ARE perfect because we are created in his image; all he asks is that you try not to fall and if you do GET BACK UP. There is no real limit to how many times you can ask Him for forgiveness because he’s got that everlasting love.

The real issue is you forgiving you. You have to realize that you are no longer the same person no matter what they may say. God doesn’t view you as that person anymore and neither should you. Once you’ve overcome that idea and stop letting people/places and things hold you back then you’re good to go. Look at Paul. Here is a man who personally haunted down followers of Christ and persecuted them. He should be the last person to receive forgiveness and redemption right? Well that is what his story is all about. When Saul changed to Paul it wasn’t just something as simple as a name change, but it was showing you God created him a new creature. The old is dead and gone!

I’m not saying that you should legally change your name (waits for someone to change their name and blame me lol), but what it is I’m saying is that you got to change your mindset. When God forgives you, he doesn’t forgive you on one or two things he forgives you for it all. No matter how huge or small! So you have to forgive you and realize you are a new creation, the old is dead and gone. That way you can receive redemption through forgiveness.

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