Better than Good
April 28, 2020
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43, NIV 1984).
We were all tired from the over-work, telehealth, glasses-foggy-from-breathing-through-masks, legitimate-fear and frantic-colleague life. I passed by my partner’s office, concerned for his emotional well-being. I knew he and his wife were having to alternate staying home with their kids because daycare was cancelled. He never showed his fatigue, but I was concerned.
“You good?” I asked.
“No,” he said and added with a grin, “But I’m forgiven.”
“That’s even better,” I said.
I love feeling good. There are days in my life when my troubles lift, my spouse is happy, my kids are okay, my retirement account is rising, my patient load has lightened and I just feel good. Those are great days. When I am in those moments, I wish they could last forever.
Could forgiveness be better than that? Only if God’s presence is better than feeling good.
To appreciate forgiveness, we have to understand our need for it. For many of us, most of the time, forgiveness is an abstract theological principle. We compare our lives to those around us, and we just don’t get it. During the Easter season this year, my wife and I viewed The Passion of the Christ and watched Jesus pay the cost of our sin. Since that viewing, the true nature of my heart has shown itself to me over and over. In my own heart I have seen pride, envy, self-fulfillment, greed for time, greed for security, a lack of trust—a life about me rather than others.
I have seen who I am. Like my friend above, I am not good. I need forgiveness.
I need forgiveness, and I received it at the cross. Without the cross, my God is distant and I am left to a rollercoaster ride of feelings until all is over. Forgiveness brings me home to the Father, who walks with me through all my rollercoaster days, good or bad. Forgiveness lifts the guilt that hovers over me and replaces it with joy that runs deeper and longer than my good-feeling times.
One great advantage of God’s forgiveness is that it lasts forever. God doesn’t have to forgive us “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22, NASB) and then forgive us once more. The cross has covered all I have done and all I will do. I am forgiven.
And, as one who is forgiven, I am now free to live differently, more like I was created to live, and free to forgive those who have caused me pain; and then they feel better too.
My friend had it right. I love feeling good, but forgiven is even better.
Thank You for forgiving and cleansing me on the cross.