I have had an enormously encouraging recurring thought in the tumultuously political past few weeks:
Thank God that Jesus doesn’t cancel me.
In Genesis, God gave Adam and Eve ONE rule in a perfect world; they broke it. Surrounded by goodness, they just had to find out what was being kept from them. There is no doubt in my mind that if I were the Artist who had created the world, I would have called it a failed Round 1 and started over. But I’m not (thank goodness) and He didn’t. He promised Eve a redemption.
God didn’t cancel Adam and Eve.
When I think of the Apostle Paul, it gives me an odd sense of comfort to remember that this man was once a government-mandated murderer. He chased people down and had them executed because he thought their religion was false. The resurrected Jesus Himself met Paul on the road to show him he was wrong. Paul later became a martyr himself.
Jesus didn’t cancel a grossly erroneous Paul.
I next think of a nameless woman. I often wonder about her. She was married five times, and when Jesus met her, the guy she was living with wasn’t one of them. To the religious people of her day, she was anathema; avoided on the streets, at the local well, likely kept from many social gatherings. Jesus waited for her by a well specifically to talk to her.
Jesus didn’t cancel the woman by the well.
There is no forgiveness in the social medias. There is no room for growth or maturity; what is forgiven in person when a foolish high-schooler speaks is not forgiven when it is Tweeted and re-discovered ten years later. There is no forgiveness in a public interview, a public opinion, or a quote out of context. Even without proof, certain kinds of accusations are political and social death knells. But my God doesn’t only forgive me when I ask, for He does something else I cannot do and forgets what I have done against Him. He wants my reconciliation. He has given and gives me every chance to come.
The more broken the world is around us, the lovelier is the God of the Bible. He doesn’t constantly change His mind. He is utterly remarkable and unique in His forgiveness. He is completely perfect in His equity: all are under perfect justice for sin and all are offered forgiveness. We get to choose. Try reading the book of Romans. He doesn’t forgive me and then put my relationship with Him on trial, nor wait for me to perfect myself before He takes me back. He does not surgically remove me from Himself when I am unpleasant or downright toxic. Anyone can come to Him and be changed; everyone is welcome to His forgiveness and grace.
Thank God He takes me as I am to make me better than I was.