So We Know the Love of God
We’ve spent two weeks talking about God’s justice and His laws. This week we transition to talking about God’s forgiveness and mercy.
If you want to feel better about yourself, take a stroll through the Old Testament and follow the story of the Israelites. No matter how many miracles God did for them, they quickly turned away from Him with complaining, doubt, and idol worship.
For instance, God freed them from slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and defeated the Egyptian army. Soon after, they were complaining because they were hungry and wishing they were back in Egypt. Egypt! The country that enslaved them and killed their sons at birth!
We see this happen repeatedly throughout their history. This may tempt us to think they didn’t deserve God’s blessings. We’d be right. But don’t think we are better than them. We aren’t. Well, I hope as individuals that we do somewhat better, but as a whole, humanity hasn’t changed.
I’d like to think I’m not a complainer, but I am. I’m hot or cold or tired or hungry or bored or busy. Don’t shake your head at me…I know I’m not alone. We humans are a tough crowd. But God offers His forgiveness and mercy, so we know that He is God.
Yes, justice must be served, laws must be obeyed, obedience brings greater blessings, and disobedience brings separation. But God’s love permeates all these things. His love is in His patience, His faithfulness, His sacrifice. God wants us to know Him. And for us to know Him, we must draw near. We can’t do that until God restores us to Himself.
Each time God restored Israel, He did it so they would know that He was their God. Their God. Their God who allowed the consequences of their actions to take place. Their God whose heart they broke when they abandoned Him. Their God who sent His Son to die for them. Their God who hung upon the cross and said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
My God. Your God. Our God. He is a loving Father, loyal Savior, and a long-suffering Teacher. Our God promotes love, mercy, and forgiveness. He’s given this gift to us and He asks us to pass it to others so they will know that He is God.
Loving and forgiving others is easier said than done. It requires us to allow God to dive into our hearts and dig out all the old, ingrained thought patterns and unhealthy emotional responses.
I recently asked God to deal with my own poor thought patterns. He showed me that I have an “abandonment trigger.” When I feel like someone has left me high and dry (whether true or not) I harbor resentment, which leads to me treating them harshly or turning a cold shoulder to them. This is ungodly behavior, contrary to God’s laws of forgiveness and love.
I asked God to remove that trigger and teach me how to respond better when I feel abandoned or rejected. He started by showing me the ugliness of my own thought patterns. He opened my eyes, and I realized what a destructive path this created.
It was ugly, dark, and not at all appealing. I asked for forgiveness and healing, and God restored my heart toward my friend and lifted the weight of that trigger from my mind. I pray I keep this lesson close, so the next time this trigger is tripped, I let it go immediately. Eventually, the trigger will become rusted from disuse or disabled by God’s power.
Forgiveness, love, and mercy. God restores us through these beautiful gifts, disables harmful patterns in our lives, and leads us into a closer relationship with Him. Our God wants to be known. He wants to be near. The power of His love makes it possible.
Father, thank You for Your love and mercy. Help us know that You are our God. Show us how to honor You with our lives and teach us Your ways. You are faithful, merciful, and kind. Forgive us when we forget this and choose to walk in selfishness. Correct us when we go off course and light the path with Your Word. We love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.