It was only three words.
But receiving an email from my former pastor’s daughter last night that said, “I forgive you” caused in my soul some of the sweetest relief I’ve felt in a while.
God works in amazing ways. This morning around 2:30 I woke with my pastor’s daughter on my mind. I thought of the friendship I had with her from the first time I met her. A hug I gave her when she was hurting. A hug she gave me when I was hurting and confused. The frozen daiquiris we shared while our kids played at the creek. The conversations we had about nothing much and the times we struggled with the hardest questions in life. I thought of one of the last times I saw her in person before the truth came out. She was one of my favorite people. I know it probably doesn’t make much sense, but I loved her dearly. I felt a connection with her from the very first time I met her. The loss of my friendship with her was one of the most painful things I suffered.
When I woke at 2:30 with her on my mind, I picked up my phone and amazingly I saw an email from her with those three words. It was just another reminder to me of God’s sovereignty over every aspect of our lives and His kindness towards us.
My response, “Thank you so very much.”
Her words remind me of three other words that give me more relief than I’ve ever known.
“It is finished.”
His final words spoken as He died for us.
He didn’t have to say those words. He didn’t need to die for our sins. He was perfect and we were broken, messy, screwed up, sinful and deserving of death.
But according to Isaiah 53:10, “It pleased God to crush Him.”
He loved us despite our sinfulness.
I love the way the Message says it:
Isaiah 53:10 MSG
“Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God ’s plan will deeply prosper through him.”
While we were still sinners Christ died for us…so we could have life, life and more life.
Romans 5:6-8 MSG
“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”
We didn’t have any capacity in us to do good.
He could have crushed us, but instead He took our sins and crushed Him.
And it gave God pleasure.
Because He loved us.
I cannot thank Him enough for this.
That three word letter from the former pastor’s daughter reminded me of what it means to be forgiven when we don’t deserve it.
It reminds me also why Jesus told us to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
It’s the only way to stop the pain, to bring relief, and give us life.
Thank you, Jesus, for forgiving us.