Highly recommended: The Scars of Forgiveness.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees:man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:8
To find an individual who conveys understanding, grace and acceptance, is to find one who has no doubt been touched in the deepest core of his or her being with grace — the quality of which they are able to show to others. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
But then there are those in life, perhaps once close or close enough to at least “think” they know our true heart, who then use this “knowledge at a distance” to erase the good and retain only an evil in their minds, tempting them to act out against us as though we truly are the thuggish characters drawn in their omniscient imaginations.
Like a foretaste of hell itself, we repeatedly stand in the court of their minds, where jury, prosecution witnesses and sentencing judge all look forebodingly upon us, with darkened and even furious brow. There we wait…there we are left to rot in the trappings of our worthlessness, with no opportunity for recovery and no leeway to change or morph into something or someone better.
You are who you are…at least in the terrifying court-room of their minds.
Still they read our heart. Still they know we’re just not good enough. Still they know we never will be. Though we seek to rise, to perform to their exacting standards, like a rising high-jump bar, the expectation of performance just keeps getting higher and higher.
It is at such a moment of horrendous realization, that we perceive in the corner of our mind’s eye, our beloved Advocate — one whom when He beholds our limping frame urges that “with boldness we come before Him” where we see in the shadows His cross, His blood, His victory and the words “it is finished”
“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” — 1Jn. 1:1-2
Something profoundly significant occurred on the cross some two-thousand years ago. Spiritual transactions occurred that resulted in the unleashing of the floodgates of mercy. The effects were eternally revolutionizing for all who come to God in simple faith. It’s effects were retroactive, present and future in scope, range and significance.
Though we may not be able to clearly define or embrace either cognitively or spiritually the details, (thats the exercise of theology) one thing is certain – here is the root and core of freedom for man.
When one is freely forgiven, one is free indeed. That’s because there is a moral and ethical foundation to existence. That foundation was the battlefield of eternal ethical transactions engaged in on the cross which resulted in true potential for freedom.
The current battles we face in our culture, both in the evaporation of freedom and our love-affair with death are directly traceable to the erosion of true spiritual faith, and in clarity of the object of faith.
But we do know His name: Jesus, the cornerstone of reality, and centerpiece of the universe.
We can start from there. We can perceive the battlefield from that vantage point. We can feel the depth of our freedom, and know why we so highly value it.
“divine child abuse” – Christopher Hitchens
“My God, my God, why???“
In uttering this statement on the cross, the very Center of the universe howled in a moment of divine irony – God asking “why?” to God.
In so doing He was reflecting the unresting, unyielding quest of philosophers and questioners from the beginning – why?
In finding a philosophically satisfying answer, human thought has utterly failed. The timeless, boundless “why?” still permeates the corridors of our consciousness, and rides upon every fibre of our being.
But we can narrow some things down on this day, at this time, to this one “why?” question, and realize at least part of the answer to Jesus’ own heaven-piercing “why?”
“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Hebrews 2:18
In others words it was for us.
Contrary to Christopher Hitchen’s assertion of “divine child abuse” In Him and in His self-sacrifice is the defining point and origin of love, hope and forgiveness.