is like sweet, sweet honey on my lips
like the sound of a symphony to my ears
like holy water on my skin.
We all long for intimacy. Despite this innate desire, we often times look for it in all the wrong places. Maybe it’s to fill a void. Maybe it’s just to feel something. The truth is, forgiveness is one of the most intimate things we can ever experience because in order to be forgiven, we have to first remove the “clothes” we’ve used to cover up the depths of our heart and choose to invite God into our mess. And this is extremely terrifying and very uncomfortable. But, there is nothing like having the senses of our soul reawakened by the loving-kindness of the Savior.
Psalm 103:10–14 says, “He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for His mercy toward those who fear and honor Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence him.” In my own life, knowing the things I’ve done and the thoughts I’ve thought, this verse has been difficult for me to understand and even believe for myself. However, the beautiful thing is that the truth of forgiveness doesn’t hinge off of a belief. It is solely based upon a decision – a decision to acknowledge and receive something that has already been given. Given to you and me. In other words, you don’t have to organize your sin or even try and manage your shame. This is only pride telling you that you are way better than to be seen all muddy and dirty in front of the King, how dare you embarrass yourself like that!
On the flipside, it is just as dangerous to doubt God’s forgiveness as it is to abuse it. “If my people, who are called by my Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
What good is it to ask for forgiveness and continue in sin and then expect change? The whole reason that forgiveness demands intimacy is because by receiving it, we are giving ourselves fully to our First Love. And, by giving ourselves to Him, we inevitably deny all other “love.” Otherwise, the abuse of His grace becomes adultery with the world.
What then should our response to His forgiveness be? Instead of treating His grace as a “get out of jail free” card, it this very grace that should transform our hearts and our minds to desire to obey Him. Not because we expect anything in return or even expect that our performance gets us closer to Him, but simply because we love Him.
— Martin of We The Kingdom