Now, there is no love without forgiveness
I can imagine that it used to be quite different. The love that the Father, Son, and Spirit had for one another and the love shared between God and the, as yet, unfallen man and woman was on quite a different basis than we find today. In the Godhead itself there is no concept of debt and forgiveness as each One performs Their roles to the complete satisfaction of the Others. Without the disobedience of the pinnacle His creation there was no hint of mercy for there was no need of it. Adam and Eve were, graciously, given good gifts but did there was no wrath (anger against sin) to withhold from them. What a world that must have been.
But now what of the love that was back then? I may be making too much of this, but it seems to me that, with all of the frailty and sin that is part of who I am, I dare say that I cannot even begin to understand love without the foundation of forgiveness. I cannot fully love without being forgiven and comprehending how deep the debt was that has been removed from me. Jesus seems to point to this when He asks Simon the Pharisee: "When they [the debtors] were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" and then goes onto say "...her sins, which are many, have been forgiven; for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little loves little." Knowing the ubiquity of sin in my life and how indebted I am to my God, my wife, my children, and countless others I can say that I have been forgiven much. Knowing that I am sinful from birth and I have continued in that sinfulness these many years so much of my love for God and others is wrapped up all that they have forgiven me. I find little other basis for my love for them.
I think that this forgiveness of incurred debt is the number one reason why I am more in love with my wife now than I ever have been. It surely is the reason for the growth, (even the genesis?), of my love for her. Can I call what I had on my wedding day love? I think so, but it is the 90 pound weakling brother of the love that I have for her now. She has seen all of me, but still holds my hand and shows me her love in countless ways. My love for her has grown, primarily, through her forgiveness of my sins against her.
I see the same thing in my relationship with God. As He continues to forgive me and as I come to a deeper understanding of the indebtedness that I had to Him, I am amazed. Literally amazed and my love for Him grows. Leave it to God to put something like this together. I can't imagine a more redemptive use for the forgiveness that accompanies my sinfulness if I confess it to Him. He, remarkably, even uses elements of my sin, my rebellion, to bring me closer to Himself. That is a true masterstroke.
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