Thursday, March 28, 2013

forgiveness restores hope

Warm your cold child, 
give life to your dead man 
and justify me--your brazen sinner.

Everyone begins as a child. This is a good beginning. It is also a fine ending. The grandmother that chooses play is more glorious than a child that plays by instinct—and if adults can learn to play by instinct, that is even more glorious still. Holiness can be a romp.

The child that knows she needs her Father is wise: She has fallen in the river. She is cold and wet. But her Father is there. She can limp to him with cuts from the rocks. He will wrap her in a warm blanket (and his arms) and hold her by the fire until she is warm. She will sit with him awhile and then she will be able to get up to play again. She may still even be bruised, but she will be able to play. Children don’t wait for complete healing before they are able to enjoy life again.

To lose childhood is to die. If one doesn’t die physically, there is a kind of death that accompanies all lost innocence. But God is able to help you believe again. The cynicism you thought sure enlightened you only deceived you. Grace is more real than evil. Forgiveness is able to restore the hopes of youth.

Evil seems more real to us than grace because the Prosecutor likes to push guilt back in our face. On the one hand, he does have a case: either we have done evil or we have had it done to us. In either case, God is the one that declares us innocent (even though we all know we’re not) because the Son paid the penalty of death on our behalf. This new imparted innocence feels warm, like the blanket and the Father or Mother of our childhood. Forgiveness is enough to restore hope and trust that, yes, we can play again and we can even fall down again. He will never stop loving us, he will never stop raising the dead, and he will never stop declaring us innocent.

"I am the resurrection and the life."
John 11:25

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