Friday, March 30, 2018

A Family of Forgiveness

A few weeks ago at church, I was up the front to say the main prayer. As I reached the rostrum, my two sons, Cyrus and Michael, approached me holding the offering bags. They are both deacons and had just collected the offering. As is the tradition in our church, the deacons bring the offering to the front for prayer.

Forgiveness & Other Acts of Love by [Dowrick, Stephanie]
I've enjoyed reading this book.
It will not leave you unchanged.
My two boys, 18 and 19 years old, in church, involved. Standing before the altar. Presenting an offering. My heart swelled with gratefulness to God. I said two words - from the depths of my heart. "My boys!" It was a prayer of gratitude, a prayer of praise. "My Boys!"

Sometimes, I wonder, “How did we get here?” Three teenagers that love the Lord, love being involved in church and actually love each other! What’s going on? Or, maybe a better question, what’s gone on - to get us here?

We are not perfect parents. We are parents in process. I am not a perfect father or a perfect husband. Long ways from it. So, what happened?

A year or two ago, Cyrus and I were driving. I was in a particularly low place emotionally and apologised to him for my failings. Cyrus is a very thoughtful person and careful communicator. But this time, without even pausing to reflect, he said, “I respect you more because of your failings, Dad.”

“Really?” I said, stunned.

“Well, not because of them,” Cyrus said. “Because of how you deal with them. You fix things. You say sorry. You ask forgiveness. You and Mum both.”

“You’re definitely right about your, Mum.” I said, “She’s my living example of what Jesus did for us on the Cross!”

“You both are,” Cyrus said, “to all of us. We watch you and Mum. You really love each other. Love is forgiveness. That’s what you’ve taught us. And, I believe you because it’s real. We see it.”

I’m not telling you this story to brag. I haven’t got it all figured out. When it comes to sin and forgiveness, I am not a one-shot wonder. The devil hit me with his shotgun. I’m full of holes. And, being open and honest about those holes makes faith real in the eyes of our children.

They see us plugging holes as we discover them. They see us asking each other for forgiveness and asking God for help. They experience us working together – as a family – on our failings. Not to earn salvation or to become perfect but to be healed, once again. Reconciled to each other. Made right and healthy and whole as a family.

The joy of Salvation is that you experience God’s grace repeatedly. The process of healing is wonderful. Forgiveness leads to health. Healthy relationships. Healthy Hearts. Healthy minds. Healthy bodies.

We all break down. And God is in the business of healing. Then, He gives us that work – the work of healing lives, relationships, hearts, minds and bodies. Paul called us "God’s reconcilers." We are both God’s work-projects and his workers! Not because we’ve got it all figured out but because we are all healing. And as we heal and lead others to healing we reveal His Love.

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