Forgiveness, Grace

No More Grubby Sin-Clothes

Do you ever see sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing and wonder whether you’ll ever wash clean?

My kids used to come home dirty after playing outside, but one day in particular was the worst. I eyed them from the door, every inch of them covered in head-to-toe grime.

“We found a mud pit, Mama!” they shrieked, little faces transformed with glee.

My heart tumbled—so much for all the cleaning I’d done that morning.

One by one, I scooped them up and deposited them in my shower. There was so much mud caked on that it took me three shampoos and a loofah scrub-down to get most of it out of their hair and out from under their fingernails, not to mention all the loads of laundry.

That night, as we snuggled up in my son’s room reading bedtime stories, I inhaled their scent, their freshly washed hair and laundered clothes a balm for my senses.

“We were dirty, Mama,” my daughter whispered, giggling. “But it was so much fun.”

My son looked worried. “Is my special shirt ruined forever?”

I kissed his brow. “All the stains came out. It’s as good as new, sweet pea. Just like you two.”

It took a lot of work to get the mud off my kids, not to mention a bunch of stain remover and laundry cycles. But it was true—every bit of filth had been washed away. No more walking swamp monsters.

Reading Zechariah in the Bible today, the prophet’s vision reminds me of my dirty kiddos all those years ago—and what it means for us all today.

In Zechariah’s vision, in Zechariah 3:1-7, an angel had come to him from the Lord, telling him how angry God had been with His people. But God promised He would return to Jerusalem with mercy, cleansing them of their sin if they would walk in His ways and follow His commands.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’

“Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’

“Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

“The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here’” (Zechariah 3:1-7 NIV).

Joshua, the high priest of Jerusalem, had been adorned in filth—covered in sin and unworthiness. He and all God’s people wandered far astray, worshipping other gods and forgetting Who they belonged to. But God, in His great compassion, elected to remove that sin and give Joshua new clothes. Not only that, but He promised Joshua a place in His heavenly home if he would walk in obedience to God.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin. Click To Tweet

Others might not be able to see the grubby sin-clothes we wear, but God can. In fact, to God and His holy beings, I imagine we look like my kids did that day after their visit to the mud pit, our sin stinking and caked on for all of heaven to see.

But, through God’s almighty mercy and Fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus.

Through God’s almighty mercy and fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus. Click To Tweet

God sent His Son to die for us and pay our sin-debt so that we can discover the path to heaven. He offers us His heavenly shower and laundry, effectively rescuing us from the fires of hell and granting us, in His mercy, new life.

Like “a burning stick rescued from the fire,” we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus.

Like 'a burning stick rescued from the fire,' we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus. Click To Tweet

As Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). And as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Let’s get rid of those filthy, muddy, sin-caked clothes. Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal.

Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal. Click To Tweet

Your turn: Do you ever see your sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing, or a layer of mud upon your skin? Did confessing and repenting of your sin make you feel like you were fresh and clean?

 

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Forgiveness, Hardships and Trials

Forgive and Forget? by Jennifer Henn

Jenn Henn Quote 1

Forgive and Forget?

By: Jennifer Henn

Maybe you’ve always heard, “Forgive and forget.” But what do you do when it’s impossible to forget? A certain song, smell, or a curse blurted in anger, and, at lightning speed, our mind remembers. Even when the memory laid dormant for several years.

I woke up to sheer panic, my bed shaking. When I opened my eyes, the mirror on the wall wildly swung back and forth. As soon as I caught my breath, I let out a terrified scream. My parents couldn’t come to me—they were rushing to secure the cupboards so all the dishes wouldn’t fall out. The early-morning San Fernando earthquake became a permanent memory in my six-year-old brain.

We moved from California the next year, and it wasn’t until decades later, in Georgia, when I felt the earth tremor once again. My husband was in the bathroom shaving and didn’t even feel it. Newscasters joked about how most people didn’t even know we’d had an earthquake. I knew. Some things you never forget.

Everyone hasn’t gone through a natural disaster, but everyone will experience fear and trauma. Often, people in their life cause their pain. Our emotions are an intricate part of who we are. Some memories, especially traumatic ones, refuse to leave. We may not be able to forget a painful memory, but we can control whether or not we will dwell on it.

Jenn Henn Quote 2

God has never asked me to deny, or “forget,” hard situations of my past. Instead, He calls me to walk in truth and then asks, “Now how are you going to handle it?” and “Am I enough?”

When Christ died a cruel death for our sin, He never denied our offenses against Him. He forgave us because we couldn’t save ourselves. I can’t be like Christ and save anyone, but I can forgive them.When Christ died a cruel death for our sin, He never denied our offenses against Him. He forgave us because we couldn’t save ourselves. I can’t be like Christ and save anyone, but I can forgive them. Click To Tweet

In the Bible, a disciple asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV).

When I think about someone who wronged me, I’m reminded of a parable Jesus told of a man who owed a king a huge debt he could never repay (Matthew 18:23-35). The man begged the king for mercy, and the king forgave the debt. However, the forgiven man went to another who owed him a small amount of money and insisted on immediate payment.

This second debtor begged for more time to pay, but the forgiven man’s heart was hard, and he refused to give more time to pay the debt.

Word got back to the king. “Hey King, remember that guy’s big debt you forgave? Well, now he wants a man thrown in jail for a much smaller amount of money owed.” (Paraphrased.)

Outraged at the man’s lack of mercy, the king had him brought back to court and thrown into jail.

Chills go down my spine as I recall this story, for I remember my reluctance sometimes to forgive others. While I don’t need to forget what happened, God gives me mercy in abundance, and I should offer the same to others—even those who wronged me horribly.

Therefore, I have to make a conscience choice to forgive. Sometimes, over and over. When situations trigger a memory, the quicker I forgive and move on, the better. Moving on doesn’t mean I forget every wrong endured. If I did, I might stay in an unhealthy relationship or miss out on a lot of good lessons. But I do forgive.

Think about it. If we really were made to forget every wrong done to us, we’d keep going back for more abuses or continue in poor judgement. We wouldn’t be able to walk in truth.

We need to consider other’s deeds with wisdom and truth. If your friend is not responsible with their finances, you don’t lend them money. If your teen is known to take drugs, you don’t lend him or her your car. The circumstances can range from mild to tragic. With truth, understanding, and love, we can honor people and still set appropriate boundaries based on their character.

When I have bitter feelings toward someone, I know I’m resistant to forgiveness. That’s when focusing on the cross helps.When I have bitter feelings toward someone, I know I’m resistant to forgiveness. That’s when focusing on the cross helps. Click To Tweet

Christ forgives me not because I’ve changed or paid Him back for my wrong, but because of His love for me. I need to love others in the same way.

God understands how hard it is to forgive some offenses over and over. That’s okay—just keep your eyes on Jesus, the One who forgives all the sins of the world, and know you are cared for. He sees you and loves you deeply.God understands how hard it is to forgive some offenses over and over. That’s okay—just keep your eyes on Jesus, the One who forgives all the sins of the world, and know you are cared for. He sees you and loves you deeply. Click To Tweet

Meet Jennifer Henn

Jennifer Henn's headshotYears ago, Jennifer asked God, “As the gray hairs come in, make me wise.” Today, her gray hair may be camouflaged, but she has compassion and wisdom to share. She’s mentored women through a variety of leadership roles, small group meetings, and now through Wholly Loved online groups.

Jennifer also serves the homeschool community through conferences and writing. She shares how you can teach your children at home, while enjoying the freedom to explore their individual interests. Her first book, Take the Mystery Out of Homeschooling: A How-To Guide, takes parents incrementally through the basics of homeschooling and offers practical advice so they can make informed decisions.

Jennifer and her husband live in Metro Atlanta where their nest is down to one chick. Besides writing and speaking, she is the secretary for Christian Authors Guild, a member of Word Weavers Intl, and serves on the mission’s assessment team at her local church. Visit Jennifer online at JenniferHenn.com, connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Instagram, and find her book on Amazon HERE.

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Highlighted resource:

Anchored and Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace:

About the book:

Anchored and Secure Cover ImageThanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come alive and find the power and courage to live as He intended. That’s when we experience true and lasting freedom. This sixty-day devotional helps women reflect on God’s grace and the freedom of living deeply anchored in Him.

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