A friend told me the other day, “I am going to get to heaven, but just barely. I imagine the gate is going to brush my back side as it shuts behind me.” He was, of course, joking, and you have probably heard some of your friends (and maybe have heard yourself) say something similar. I enjoyed the moment with my friend, but it also reminded me that most of us have a stingy view of God’s grace.
Rich In Mercy
If we are honest, most of us would have to admit we think God reluctantly forgives us and doles out just enough grace to prevent Him from banishing us from His presence. We tend to think He is mildly disappointed with us and reluctantly allows Himself to forgive us simply because He promised to and can’t go back on his word. Since we think God is kind of like us (only better), we are prone to believe He may be second guessing His actions as He takes inventory of our behavior.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Ephesians 2:4-5 informs us, “Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Did you catch that? God is rich in mercy! His storehouse of forgiveness is unlimited, so He never has to budget it out. He is never concerned about running out of this resource or giving one person too much at the expense of others. His grace is vast beyond measure, and when He has forgiven everyone who trusts in His Son, He still possesses an unlimited supply. He can, therefore, easily afford to forgive anyone who is humble enough to admit to the need.
Favor Freely Given
God is not a miser, either. Some can picture God as abundantly rich in grace, but they believe he is hoarding it for himself, only dispensing it to others when it is absolutely necessary. In Ephesians 1:6, Paul rejoices because God’s favor is freely given to us in the one He loves. In other words, God does not forgive you just a little. He generously lavishes all who believe in His son with more forgiveness than is necessary so that we are free to enjoy our relationship with Him as adopted children.
How can we train ourselves to think about His forgiveness in the same generous terms God does? Here are a few steps you can use to rethink God’s mercy:
- Begin your day by saying the following statement out loud: “God, you have more forgiveness to share than ____________________ has money.” Think of the richest people you can imagine and put their name in the blank space.
- Every time you are disappointed with yourself or others today, say to yourself, “God has forgiven that.” The goal is to say it so many times in a single day that you begin to realize how rich God is in grace.
- Share your understanding of how rich God’s mercy is with someone. You will grasp it better when you try to explain it to someone.
- Review your “biggest” mistake in life and say, “Jesus you have completely forgiven me for ________________________ because your grace is bigger than my mistakes.”
Don’t ever give in to the notion that Jesus barely forgives. Our God is truly rich in mercy!
You may also be interested in Forgiveness In Families: How To Heal After Being Hurt By Loved Ones