My heart is heavy tonight for several reasons.
First, I just found that some one from my past…someone I loved very much passed away this April. It breaks my heart to know he’s gone on to be with the Lord but I rejoice in the fact that I will see him again one day.
Second… my heart is heavy tonight because in hearing the news of this loved one, I am reminded of a past I have tried so hard to forget. You see, while I stand before you a creation of Christ and a child of the King, I was not always. I have done horrible things to wonderful people and have lived with regret for a lifetime.
I often associate myself with the prostitute Jesus stood in the courtyard and defended. He did so not because she loved Him and followed Him but because He loved her regardless of her transgressions. He saw something in her she couldn’t see in herself. He saw past the horrible things she’d done… not only to others, but to herself. He saw straight to her heart and even with sin plastered across her face, He held out His hand and lifted her up to look into her eyes..and forgive her.
I wonder if she struggled in forgiving herself. I wonder if she felt the need to go back and apologize for the things she had done…or was she embarrassed? I wonder how thankful she was for a new beginning.
I stand before you certain that without the unfailing grace of God, I would be not be standing before you at all. I spent many years suicidal. Many years trying to escape a childhood of sexual abuse and many years taking my pain out on others. What an awesome God I have that He would see past my filthy rags and allow me an opportunity to tell others about HIM.
I am convinced I lived the childhood I was meant to. That I committed the crimes and sins that would bring me to this point of humility. You see, every time I found myself in the pits of hell and face down in a ditch, HE was right there with me. He’s been there all along and because of His mercy being made new every single in this twisted life of mine, I am able to say… He can change anyone. He can turn any life around and use any life for His glory…if you’ll let him.
Thank you Father, for the opportunity to face those I’ve wronged. I do not deserve even that but I thank you for your grace once more.
(In memory of Bill Gibson… we love you and miss you…and we will see you soon!)