5.25.2016

Forgiveness and Grace - they really ARE amazing!

Last week I had the privilege of confessing sin to a dear friend and, hearing the confession of sin from a dear sister. My friend responded with tenderness and grace, and I pray I offered the same to my sister.
I use the word 'privilege' because I believe it is an accurate description of such a conversation.
To have a faithful and trustworthy friend is a precious gift.
To be trusted by another person is an absolute honor.
And the beauty in both scenarios is the truth that it is biblical and right to confess our sins to each other.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16
Confession brings HEALING!
And, sharing something so personal and intimate with a brother/sister in Christ creates an opportunity to support and encourage each other as we walk through the process of repentance, forgiveness, and breaking the bonds that bind us to our sin.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24, 25

Last night the Lord kept pressing me to pray for my sister, and as I did I felt an urgency to find a passage in Scripture to encourage and remind her that she is FORGIVEN. 
Sometimes it is hard to accept that we can be forgiven by a holy God, but it is He who offers such a wonderful gift! Hard to believe? Perhaps. But TRUE.
And as I Corinthians says, "Love rejoices in the TRUTH."

He led me to Psalm 32. A beautiful passage in its own right, but even more lovely when reading it through the bleary, tearful eyes of one who has chosen sin over the Savior.
How I LOVE God's Word!

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, 
     whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them
     and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
     through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;
     my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to You
     and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
     And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32

I read this passage several times, soaking in the beauty of the words. As someone who had to learn to live under grace, because I only identified with the law, these phrases used to seem unattainable to me.
My sin has been covered?
It isn't held against me?
God forgives my guilt?
It just seemed too easy.
I thought I needed to feel the pain, the guilt, and the shame of my sin in order to make things "right." I had to DO something to earn forgiveness.
<deep sigh>
How much freedom in Christ I missed because I did not understand what grace looks like!
And how thankful I am that God stepped in, redirected my thinking, and taught me what it means to be forgiven and set free!
Amazing Grace. Oh, yes it is!

While reading the Psalm, my mind remembered one of my favorite songs. I looked it up and listened to the lyrics with my eyes closed and my mind focused on the biblical truth of the words. 
I love how the Lord uses music to cut deep into our hearts and show us what we might not see through words or thoughts alone.

I pray it will encourage you the same way it encouraged me. Or more!

Come As You Are ~ David Crowder ... Listen here
Come out of sadness
From wherever you've been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There's hope for the hopeless
And all those who've strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There's rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
Lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There's joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

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