Some places are not a good spot to begin looking for God. With a smile, but in all seriousness, we talked about some of them in our last post.
The pride by which we turn our backs on God can turn into a wounded pride that leads us to think that our sins are greater than God’s mercy, or worse yet, that we could never survive the embarrassment of admitting our wrongs.
Pride, in one of its many forms, can also cause us to forget that, according to the Bible, none of us comes to God on our own invitation, or with at-will options. We return to him at his invitation, and with his enablement.
The good news is that although God resists the proud, he gives grace to the person who is broken before him (James 4:6).
This is why I’m so thankful for what the Bible tells us about the story of Rahab, the prostitute; Mary Magdalene, who had given herself to demons; and the Prodigal Son who wasted his family inheritance in “a far country.”
I think one of the most wonderful moments in the Bible occurs when a woman who is a known public sinner offends a group of religious men by breaking into a room filled with religious pride.
The woman offends the men by wasting a bottle of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. Then she bathes those same feet with her tears, and wipes them with her own hair (Luke 7:36-52).
In response to the thoughts of his host, Jesus tells a story. He tells about two men who owe money to the same lender. One owes 50 pieces of silver, the other 500 pieces of silver. As Jesus tells the story the lender decides to forgive the debts of both men.
Which of these men, Jesus asks, do you suppose would love his lender more after that?
When his host answers correctly, Jesus refers to the woman and says, “I tell you, her sins — and they are many — have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Luke 7:47).
While none of us have only “sinned a little,” Jesus gives us reason to remember that while some places may not seem like good places from which to try to find God, a broken and repentant heart can turn those places into an opportunity to spend the rest of our lives with gratefulness to God.
Wherever the Spirit of God gives us an awareness of our sin, and a longing to turn back– that becomes for us, the best possible moment and place from which to accept the truth that those who are forgiven much– love much.
My guess is that many of us have experienced this difficult, wonderful turn around in ways for which we will be forever thankful.