This will be a difficult post to write. Not because of any earth shattering thing. Not because I failed miserably, but because it will be hard to not sound like I’m patting myself on the back.
The other day a very dear person to me confided and confessed a sin that will have long term effects in his life and mine. Now because of our relationship, I have the authority to speak into his life. At that moment I had a choice. I could condemn his actions and heap shame on him, blame him for acting foolishly, or reproach him for bad decisions. OR, I could model God’s love to him. I could empathize with him in the pain. I could help him to formulate a plan to move forward. I could let him know that no matter what he has done, he is always welcomed and loved here.
Our model in all things is Christ. What would he have done? To the Samaritan woman at the well, He brought her to the knowledge of sin then offered her the hope of relief. To the woman caught in adultery He defended her from the mob who wanted to punish her then offered her forgiveness. To the rich young ruler, He invited him to lay aside everything else and follow Him. To Nicodemus, He offered a new start and a new life.
I’m happy to say that God won the day. We were able to calmly and lovingly work through the issues surrounding his sin and what might happen. I believe he felt loved and accepted. That has not always been the case. Many times in my life (even most) I have been hard and unforgiving. I believed the way to keep someone accountable was to clearly lay down the law and rigidly hold to the consequences of violating that law. But what did that get me? A wife who was afraid to speak freely around me, kids who hid from me, friends who didn’t include me in their plans.
What has made the difference in me? Forgiveness. Truly understanding that I am not the shining example I thought myself to be. Realizing that I am a terribly flawed man. Accepting God’s forgiveness for my sin and welcoming His correction in my life. While I am not the man I want to be, thank God, I am not the man I once was.