Good Sense

The church where I serve as a pastor has a tradition of having the youth group lead worship on a Sunday in May. It is my favorite service of the year. To see teenagers handle the responsibilities of prayers, sermon topics, testimonies, music solos, and the Children’s Sermon is a wonderful thing. They are enthusiastic, sincere, funny, and more engaged on this Sunday than any other. They also come through it with a deeper appreciation of the worship staff’s weekly efforts.

There is always a moment when their youthful wisdom catches me off guard. I love to watch the reaction of the congregation as the “aha” moment spreads through the worshippers. It is a reminder to all of us that the Holy Spirit moves through receptive believers regardless of age.     

Indeed, if you want to learn something new, listen to the little ones during the children’s time. One time I asked the kids what heaven is like and a very sincere three-year-old responded that heaven was a place where you don’t have to worry about going tee-tee in your pants. Preach it, son! Heaven absolutely is a place where you don’t have to worry about anything.

A young man named Elihu made the same argument to Job’s older yet ineffective friends. As they all sat around Job offering useless bits of commentary and advice, this young man respectfully bit his tongue and bided his time until he could no longer stand it and had to speak up. He rightfully said in verse 8 that it is “God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.” The Spirit of God is ageless and choses to speak when and through whom it chooses, and we are reminded not to judge or put boundaries around the wisdom that might come from an unexpected source. Being open and receptive to the Spirit’s leading is part of being a follower of Jesus.

Job 32:6-10 (The Message)

6-10 This is what Elihu, son of Barakel the Buzite, said:

“I’m a young man,
    and you are all old and experienced.
That’s why I kept quiet
    and held back from joining the discussion.
I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell.
    The longer you live, the wiser you become.’
But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.
The experts have no corner on wisdom;
    getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense.
So I’ve decided to speak up. Listen well!
    I’m going to tell you exactly what I think.

This is a challenge to all of us to slow down and incline an ear toward the younger people around us. Children especially will speak the truth without filters and their raw insights can help us to see God’s presence in unusual places. As adults, we are often too busy and focused on our issues to appreciate what is going on in a child’s mind, and we may miss the beauty and young wisdom that God offers through their eyes.

Ponder this as you go about your day today. Is there a young person in your life who deserves more of your attention? Is the Almighty’s breath working in an unexpected way through someone or something?      Our ageless Holy Spirit seeks to connect with us in any way it chooses. We would do well to listen with openness and acceptance.

Train Them Up in the Way They Should Go by Michelle Robertson

Will-fool Ignorance

What does the phrase “willful ignorance” mean? A quick Google search results in definitions such as “a decision in bad faith to avoid being informed about something,” “the practice of intentional avoidance of facts and empirical evidence,” and “the state of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality.” In other words, refusing to see truth.

This is the dilemma in the classic novel “Fahrenheit 451.” The story takes place in a dystopian future where books have been banned by the government because they are “evil” and cause people to think. (Perhaps not as dystopian as the author originally intended…) A fireman named Montag, whose life’s work is to discover and burn books, meets a young woman and begins to question his reality. He steals and reads a book and becomes aware of the world around him. His wife Millicent, whose life is so empty she attempts suicide at the beginning of the story, refuses to read the book, preferring the willful ignorance that is accepted by society. She chooses the “ignorance is bliss” propaganda that has taken over the world.

I couldn’t help but think of this book when I read today’s psalm. Psalm 14 is David’s treatise on the sad state of people who reject the truth of God’s presence. He calls such people “fools” who ignore the plain evidence all around them that proves God’s existence. Creation and human history offer abundant proof of God’s nature, power, and providence, but these profoundly fallen people chose to ignore every empirical piece of truth. They chose their practical atheism with a unwavering rejection of God that causes David to call them “Nabal.” In Hebrew, this word indicates more of a moral assessment rather than an intellectual one. It’s not that they aren’t smart enough to acknowledge God, it is that they simply choose to live as though God doesn’t exist … they choose willful ignorance.

Psalm 14:1-7 (Common English Bible)

Fools say in their hearts, There is no God.
    They are corrupt and do evil things;
    not one of them does anything good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on humans
    to see if anyone is wise,
    to see if anyone seeks God,
        but all of them have turned bad.
        Everyone is corrupt.
        No one does good—
        not even one person!

Are they dumb, all these evildoers,
    devouring my people
    like they are eating bread
        but never calling on the Lord?

Count on it: they will be in utter panic
    because God is with the righteous generation.
You evildoers may humiliate
    the plans of those who suffer,
        but the Lord is their refuge.

Let Israel’s salvation come out of Zion!
        When the Lord changes
        his people’s circumstances for the better,
        Jacob will rejoice;
        Israel will celebrate!

But David knew that choosing to ignore God does no good. God is as real as the rising sun and the setting moon. The corrupt life and evil things that fools choose are revealed because truth always prevails.

We who have met the Truth and call him Jesus can rejoice in the ending of David’s psalm. Indeed, Israel’s salvation came from Zion. Christ changed our circumstances for the better and he will come again. 

This reading challenges us to consider if we are also guilty of willful ignorance. Are we ignoring uncomfortable truths about God’s plan for all of humanity? Are we turning away from the call to love the marginalized the way that God loves them? Do we tithe as we should?

 May we read our beloved Word and choose truth. Always.

True As the Rising of the Sun by Michelle Robertson

Life’s Unfair

Parents of young children eventually have a moment when words from their own parents come flowing out of their mouths and they hear themselves saying, “Life’s unfair.” I heard it a thousand times and I said it a thousand times. The bad referee call, the lead part in the play going to the teacher’s pet, the boy dumping you for the popular girl … life is full of unfair moments. These moments aren’t confined to childhood. If you’ve ever been passed over for a promotion that went to a less qualified employee, been left by a cheating spouse, or suffered any number of inequities in your life, you understand.       

There are deeper causes of unfairness in life that occur as a result of institutional racism, social hierarchy systems, misogyny, ageism, generational prejudices, etc. These underground issues prevent people from operating on an even playing field. Sadly, unfairness is a part of life. How we deal with unjust situations, however, is up to us and is a measure of our relationship with Christ.

This is the subject for our reading today. Peter addressed the servants of masters who were often unfair in their dealings with them. He focused his argument by pointing out that the stripes that Jesus suffered on our behalf bring spiritual and physical healing to all who believe. When Jesus took the sins of the world on his body as he hung on the tree, it was the ultimate “unfair” moment, but his suffering there enabled us to live in righteousness and freedom. This life is indeed unfair, but our complete and final healing will come with our own resurrections, purchased with Christ’s blood on the cross.

1 Peter 2:24-25 (Common English Bible)

4 He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed. 25 Though you were like straying sheep, you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your lives.

This is an invitation to return to our original conversion moment and redirect our lives under the faithful watch of our Shepherd. Whatever unjust treatment we receive in this life will be equalized in the next. Jesus himself will restore us.

Are you being treated unfairly? Do you crave equity and justice in your life? Are you struggling under a “cruel master”? Take heart. Jesus walked that lonely valley before you and walks it with you today. When the world was unjust to him, he bore that suffering in his body so that you might live in righteousness regardless of your circumstance.

How we respond to life’s challenges is a measure of our relationship with Christ. He endured the treatment he received, knowing his Father was with him.He believed in a future with hope as Jeremiah had promised. Sometimes you have to raise you voice in protest; sometimes you have to just quietly leave. In either case, Jesus believed that we are not alone.

May we have such faith as well.

Some Days You’re the Seagull, Somedays You’re the Pufferfish by Michelle Robertson

Choosing Obedience

Canine experts know the characteristics of each dog breed, such as personality, temperament, and trainability. I was curious about this after dealing with my very stubborn dog and was surprised to learn that her breed is not among those considered to be difficult. I have come to believe that my yellow lab is a Siberian Husky or Dachshund in disguise, which are the top breeds for being stubborn. Georgia has a mind of her own and she doesn’t mind letting you know that.

In her case, it is a simple lack of desire to be obedient. I know that her high intelligence means she understands when I tell her not to take my shoe out in the backyard in the rain, but her lack of desire to obey me overrides her thinking and I end up with a soggy sneaker.

Aren’t we all like that? Few among us are ignorant of the behavior our Lord expects of us, yet we struggle to comply when something better comes along and tempts us away from God’s will. When the choice between self-denial and self-indulgence is offered, most of us move toward gratification very quickly. We aren’t helpless to comply, but we choose disobedience.

Isaiah 53:7 (Common English Bible)

He was oppressed and tormented,
but didn’t open his mouth.
Like a lamb being brought to slaughter,
like a ewe silent before her shearers,
he didn’t open his mouth.

In our brief, one-verse lesson today, we see a reference about the Suffering Servant being brought to the slaughter like a lamb and not raising her voice in protest. Reading this through our New Testament glasses, we’re reminded of Mark 15:2-5. Jesus stood before Pilate and chose not to respond. Verse 5 states that “Jesus gave no more answers, so that Pilate marveled” (Mark 15:5, Common English Bible).

 Jesus chose.

He was never helpless as he walked toward his beating, sham trial, excruciating crucifixion, and death, but he elected to be obedient to his Father, who had put him on earth for this very purpose. Why? So that you and I might be saved. Never without options, he willingly suffered in place of his sheep so that the sheep might be saved. Jesus chose to be a sacrificial lamb who was in control of everything that happened.

If this isn’t a call to obedience, I don’t know what is. God desires that we submit to the plan, the purpose, and the calling that each one of us has received in the Body of Christ. Sometimes that means saying yes to something so far out of our comfort zone, we can’t imagine God is actually asking us to do that thing. But it is often in those far reaches of callings that we find out who we are while being reminded of Whose we are. The old cliché is true: God often isn’t looking for our ability, but rather our availability. When we are obedient, we become equipped. Are you struggling to obey?

Say yes.

Boat Queen

Read the Description

Online shopping has taught us to be very careful about reading descriptions. Size, color, texture, weight, and even other people’s reviews are all helpful as we are trying to discern what a product is actually like. If you have ever ordered something without paying attention to the description, this may have been part of the learning curve for you. It was for me! In the beginning of the pandemic, I panic-ordered hand sanitizer from an unfamiliar source and failed to look at the description closely. Where the picture (and the price!!) was indicative of a large bottle that would sit by your kitchen sink for family use, the actual product was a very expensive pocket-sized container. Well, thank goodness I ordered two!

The scriptures are full of descriptions of Jesus. John 3:16 gives the most concise description: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (I did that from memory … the King James Version was all the rage when this kid was in Sunday School. Truth be told, it was the only version we had in Sunday School.)

Reading the description makes us much more aware of the qualities and special aspects of the subject. I don’t think anyone would argue that some of the best descriptions of the Messiah come from the book of Isaiah. This Old Testament prophet had a working knowledge of the suffering servant that was yet to come. His description came with no reviews, as he was describing something that hadn’t happened yet. Unlike the eyewitness accounts of the Gospel writers, Isaiah only had prophetic visions to rely on … and yet he provided some of the most accurate and beautiful language about our Savior.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (Common English Bible)

It was certainly our sickness that he carried,
    and our sufferings that he bore,
    but we thought him afflicted,
    struck down by God and tormented.

He was pierced because of our rebellions
    and crushed because of our crimes.
    He bore the punishment that made us whole;
    by his wounds we are healed.
Like sheep we had all wandered away,
    each going its own way, but the Lord let fall on him all our crimes.

Isaiah wrote that the coming Messiah would be pierced because of our rebellions. This savior would be crushed because of our sins. He would bear the punishment that made us whole. And praise God, by his wounds we would be healed. And that is exactly what happened on the cross, when our suffering savior took the sin of the world upon himself, allowing us to be free. Even though we had all wandered away, our faithful savior paid for all our crimes.

This is something to ponder today. Who is Jesus to you? If you were to write a description of him, what would you say? How would you describe our Wonderful Counselor? I challenge you to actually write these words down in your Bible somewhere.

And when you’ve finished with your written list, write it again on your heart.

Weathered Star by Michelle Robertson


In 2008, Pixar Studios released a cautionary tale called “WALL-E.” It was a love story about two robots who were left behind to work on what remained of earth after humanity fled on starships. As we journey through their relationship issues, we see a startling portrayal of what has become of humankind. With robots available to do every kind of work, people have become debilitatingly obese and are confined to lounge chairs, living their lives through screens and artificial intelligence.

In Biblical terms, they have “allowed their god to be their stomach” and are now suffering from the pursuit of earthly pleasures and indulgences. This dystopian look at humanity’s future was also predicted by Paul, who warned against such things in our reading today. Even as he addressed the church at Philippi, he was very forward thinking, wasn’t he?

Philippians 3:17-21 (Common English Bible)

17 Brothers and sisters, become imitators of me and watch those who live this way—you can use us as models. 18 As I have told you many times and now say with deep sadness, many people live as enemies of the cross.19 Their lives end with destruction. Their god is their stomach, and they take pride in their disgrace because their thoughts focus on earthly things. 20 Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform our humble bodies so that they are like his glorious body, by the power that also makes him able to subject all things to himself.

Paul was deeply distressed over these “enemies of the cross” who lived lives that were complacent and content in the wrong-headed assumption that once salvation of the soul had occurred, the body could pursue earthly delights with abandon. This type of thinking was called Gnosticism and it became the bane of Paul’s ministry throughout his life. He encouraged them to follow his example and the example of others who were imitating the life of Christ.

And we know that the life of Christ was a life of self-denial. The Gnostics practiced a life of self-indulgence, and it grieved Paul to his core.

We, too, are to imitate Christ as Paul did. One of the best things about the season of Lent when it comes around is the deliberate resetting of our priorities as we reevaluate the quality of our spiritual health. Practicing self-denial for 40 days goes a long way toward recalibrating our hearts and minds toward Christ. Perhaps we should practice Lent as a daily lifestyle all year long.

Paul reminds us that we are citizens of heaven and should focus our thinking as those who are merely foreigners here. Earthly delights will fade away in the light of heaven’s rewards, and if heaven is our true home, we will be strengthened against any temptation this “colony” has to offer.

God has promised to transform us into the likeness of Christ when we join him there. Our challenge today is to transform our thoughts, actions, words, and deeds into his image in such a way that others will see and know that we don’t belong here but are just passing through. How is God calling you to respond to this text today? Do you need to give something up in order to claim your heavenly citizenship? Save your own soul and follow Paul’s example.

Just Passing Through by Michelle Robertson

Perfecting Imperfection

Our journey through Hebrews continues this week as the writer again makes the case for Jesus’ superiority as the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins. He points out the futile efforts of the human priests, who can’t make a dent in the sin problem, and the single sacrifice made by Jesus that wipes out sin forever. 

Hebrews 10:11-18 (Common English Bible)

11 Every priest stands every day serving and offering the same sacrifices over and over, sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right side of God. 13 Since then, he’s waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for his feet, 14 because he perfected the people who are being made holy with one offering for all time.

15 The Holy Spirit affirms this when saying,

16 This is the covenant that I will make with them.
After these days, says the Lord,
I will place my laws in their hearts
and write them on their minds.
17 And I won’t remember their sins
and their lawless behavior anymore.[a]
18 When there is forgiveness for these things, there is no longer an offering for sin

In Eugene Peterson’s The Message, verse 14 reads like this:

 “It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people” (Hebrews 10:14 The Message). Preach it, Eugene! We are indeed some very imperfect people. The Holy Spirit affirms our condition of imperfection and points us toward a new plan. This new covenant will be placed in our hearts and written on our minds. Thanks be to God!

The imagery of God’s new plan being written in our hearts goes a long way toward a deeper understanding of the depth of God’s plan. God desires this covenant to be engraved not just on our hearts, but in our hearts… in other words, the deepest, inside part … of our hearts. God does not desire a superficial relationship with us but wants us to present the most inner part of our souls. We are invited to love God from the “inside-out.”

 Let’s take this in a different direction now. If God provided the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, can we really be unforgiving toward each other’s sin? And if we continue to hold grudges and refuse to forgive one another, what does that say about the power of the cross? It seems to say that our stubbornness is greater than the blood that was shed there. Everyone loves to be forgiven but we sure can be measly when it comes to forgiving others. Does that make sense? In this passage, God promises to not remember our sins and our lawless behavior anymore. This is the way we are to respond to one another, even in those situations where the offender has not asked for forgiveness.

 God calls us to forgiveness and Jesus made it conditional in the Lord’s Prayer when he said, “Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us.” The phrase “as we forgive” means that we must give as good as we have gotten. And sometimes that is very, very hard.

 Is God calling you to forgive someone today? Remember that often the burden of unforgiveness is hardest on you, not the one who hurt you. Jesus’ perfect offering wiped your slate clean. Maybe it is time for you to wipe clean all the other slates in like manner..

Old Buoy by Michelle Robertson

Streams in the Desert

Have you ever been so discouraged that you began to question your faith? Have things ever hit you so hard that you suddenly felt uncertain about everything in your life? This happened to John the Baptizer when he was in jail. He began to question Jesus’ messiahship in that dark and foreboding place. When Jesus heard this, he sent a message through a friend to say that indeed, he was the Messiah, and he quoted today’s passage from Isaiah as proof.

Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those, who were blind, are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. 6 Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me” (Matthew 11:4-6, Common English Bible).

 John was soothed in his dismay when he heard these familiar words from the prophet Isaiah. They were a foretelling of a future Messiah, which John realized had now arrived in Jesus. 

Isaiah 35:5-10 (Common English Bible)

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf will be cleared.
6 Then the lame will leap like the deer,
and the tongue of the speechless will sing.
Waters will spring up in the desert,
and streams in the wilderness.

7 The burning sand will become a pool,
and the thirsty ground, fountains of water.
The jackals’ habitat, a pasture;[a]
grass will become reeds and rushes.

8 A highway will be there.
It will be called The Holy Way.
The unclean won’t travel on it,
but it will be for those walking on that way.[b]
Even fools won’t get lost on it;
9 no lion will be there,
and no predator will go up on it.
None of these will be there;
only the redeemed will walk on it.

10 The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Happiness and joy will overwhelm them;
grief and groaning will flee away.

As we read these words, they are a reminder that God provides for our needs in the dry places. They are an assurance that God’s saving power is strong enough to ignite miracles such as sight and hearing in the blind and deaf. They bring hope. As is often the case in Isaiah’s writings, we are invited to visualize things such as streams in bleak deserts and the thirsty ground turning into a pool of clear water. These word-pictures tell of illusions turning into reality through the power of God. Indeed, the translation of the word pool in the seventh verse is translated as “mirage,” a further reminder of the illusion of water that God transforms into fountains that feed the thirsty ground.

Isaiah invites us today to travel on a highway called the “Holy Way.” It is a place for the redeemed to safely walk in righteousness and holiness in pursuit of the Lord. This causes us to ponder where we are. Are you walking the Holy Way, or have you lost your way? Are you pursuing Zion and its promises of redemption, or are you chasing after worldly things? Wealth, fame, fortune, and leisure are things that people pursue that aren’t offered on the Holy Way. What do you need to do to get back on the highway?

 We are offered “everlasting joy upon our heads” and are assured that happiness and joy will overwhelm us when we travel this way. Grief and groaning are not part of this path. 

As you meditate on these words, ask yourself this: is it time to get back on track? God always makes a way.

Walking the Highway by Sallie Williams

The Real Thing

For twenty years I lived in a town just south of Atlanta, Georgia, which gave me a deep appreciation for a man named Asa Candler. Candler was the founder of a soft drink company known as Coca-Cola, but what many people don’t know is that he was a generous philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to Emory University and what later became the Candler School of Theology, a Methodist seminary. I am a blessed recipient of that generosity, as Candler was where I attended seminary. To borrow a slogan from Coke, Asa Candler was the “real thing” when it came to giving generously.

In our reading today, we see a well-articulated treatise on why the world should accept Christ as the real thing when it comes to the sacrificial messiah that God had promised, and the prophets had foretold. Prior to Jesus’ arrival, animal sacrifices were made in an attempt to blot out one’s sins and transgressions. But the best that could happen was that the animal blood “covered” the sin but could not erase the sin … thus the adherence to the Law that required such sacrifice was only a shadow-form of a much greater atonement yet to come. It needed to be repeated once a year, thus proving its inefficiency in actually making sin go away. 

Hebrews 10:1-10 (Common English Bible)

10 The Law is a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. It never can perfect the ones who are trying to draw near to God through the same sacrifices that are offered continually every year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered? If the people carrying out their religious duties had been completely cleansed once, no one would have been aware of sin anymore. 3 Instead, these sacrifices are a reminder of sin every year, 4 because it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when he comes into the world he says, You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering,
but you prepared a body for me; 6 you weren’t pleased with entirely burned offerings or a sin offering.

7 So then I said,
“Look, I’ve come to do your will, God.
This has been written about me in the scroll.”

8 He says above, You didn’t want and you weren’t pleased with a sacrifice or an offering or with entirely burned offerings or a purification offering, which are offered because the Law requires them.

9 Then he said, Look, I’ve come to do your will. He puts an end to the first to establish the second. 10 We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all.

 Beginning in verse 5, the writer recalled a time when Christ quoted Psalm 40:6-8 and drew out the validation of his own sacrifice on the cross as the final and complete offering for the sins of the world. “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.” Jesus made the case that God never desired burnt sacrifices and sin offerings from humanity, but rather a heart that was obedient and redeemed by the shed blood of the real atonement of his crucifixion. 

Obedience versus shallow offerings is the lesson for us today. When you offer your time, talent, and tithe, do you do so out of a sense of obligation, or as an act of obeisance? Do you mentally calculate the cost of your service and your witness before you respond? Do you nitpick the “law” regarding Christian behavior or are you all in?

 The book of Hebrews is a study in why Christ was the ultimate offering on our behalf, and it calls us to respond accordingly. We acknowledge that Jesus was indeed the “real thing” and recognize that his death and resurrection means that our response as Christ followers should be just as real and meaningful.     

Ponder this today as you go about your routines. Is God calling you to “get real” about your behaviors, attitudes, actions, and thoughts? Jesus gave it all on the cross. May we do likewise.

Jesus went all in, too.

Where East Meets West

 I live on a small island off a narrow strip of land known as the Outer Banks in North Carolina. These barrier islands are so narrow at parts that you can easily see the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pamlico Sound to the west without turning your head. At its most narrow part, the “east” is separated by the “west” by only 150 yards. When a storm hits, east waters meet west waters and close down the narrow two-lane road, cutting off the southern part of the island from the rest of civilization. This area may be one of the only places on earth where “east meets west” as it were.

The reality of east meeting west of course is that it never happens. If you travel east, you will continually be heading east around the globe. Such is the basis of David’s metaphor in our psalm today, as he celebrates that fact that “As far as east is from west—that’s how far God has removed our sin from us” (verse 12).

Psalm 103 (Common English Bible)

God won’t always play the judge;
he won’t be angry forever.
10 He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
11 because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
12 As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
13 Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.

Our sins have been banished to a place that doesn’t exist; thus we suffer them no longer. This reminder of the infinite nature of God’s saving love is a blessing when we have strayed from God’s will for our lives. David’s beautiful psalm is a strong assurance of the power of the cross to obliterate our sins. The price that Jesus paid with his life is our guarantee that past sins won’t inform our present relationship with God. As David says, God won’t be angry with us forever and doesn’t deal with us according to our sin. Indeed, God deals with us according to the measure of our confession and repentance. The power of the shed blood of the atonement is the criteria upon which we will be judged … thanks be to God! Mercy reigns.

But do we believe that, or do we cling to past sins and use them as a way of beating ourselves up over and over again? It is so easy to lay our sin at the foot of the cross and then pick it up again the next day. Repeated self-condemnation of past transgressions becomes the devil’s playground, as he whispers in our ears that we aren’t worthy.

God’s faithful love says otherwise. As far as heaven is above the earth, that is the measure of God’s forgiveness and love for us.

If you are caught in a cycle of unforgiveness of your past, ask yourself this: is your sin actually greater than Christ’s crucifixion? Do you really have that much power? Isn’t holding on to past regret a form of arrogance?

God invites us to truly let go of our past and walk cleanly into the future with hope for which his Son died. Anything less diminishes the cross.

As Far as the East is to the West by Amanda Williams