We are each designed for a unique and divine purpose. Live yours!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

God's All-Surpassing Grace

Growing up I was taught that there are different "levels" of sin. The teaching was that some sins are less offensive to God than others. For instance, I learned that telling a lie wasn't nearly as bad as murdering someone, so it wasn't as egregious in God's eyes.

On some level, that still makes sense to me. Obviously murder is wrong in just about everyone's book! Don't think I'll get much argument there. But what about those lesser sins? Well, to my mind they are almost worse because we tend to adopt an attitude of "Well, at least I . . ." That's a dangerous attitude, don't you think!?

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3 NIV)

We've been having conversations at our house about Kaylee Anthony. That is a sad story--beyond sad. My husband commented the other evening that it was just impossible for him to imagine the grief of that grandfather. He brought it right home when he said, "Just think about what we would have missed." We have two beautiful children. We have rejoiced in them and reveled in their lives from the moment they were conceived. How sad it would have been to have missed a single moment. Our lives just would not have been complete.

I am struggling with forgiving that baby's mom. Really struggling. I have realized that she is mentally unstable, but I still struggle. I have had to turn my struggle over to God because I know I have sinned--continue to sin--on a regular basis. It would be so easy for me to say, "At least I didn't murder my child."

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)

But did I yell at one of them out of my own impatience? Did I criticize my spouse because something wasn't done to my specifications? Did I covet the possessions of a friend or neighbor? Did I complain albeit to myself (and God) that I don't have as much as I would like to have? Have I rushed ahead of God, failing to wait on Him and His word? Have I ommitted my morning prayer time because I had "too much to do" before I started my day?

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7 NIV)

Oh! In that case, I have no right to judge another--even a murderer. Really. Sin is sin. It all breaks God's heart. Every time I do or act like the scenarios I posed in the previous paragraph, I send an arrow directly into the heart of God. The exact same size and shape as the arrows of other sinners.

Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake. (Psalm 79:9)

This morning I have committed to try to replace my judgement of the poor, mentally ill young mother who killed her child to the grandparents who adored that baby. As my husband said, we know what they will miss out on because we have a beautiful daughter who is now a young adult. We know how good and full and blessed a life can be. And we grieve that those grandparents won't have that to look forward to.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (Romans 5:15)

I thank God for His grace, which saves me from my sin. I think I have enough for which to ask God's forgiveness without deciding anyone else's sin is beyond His grace. That in and of itself is sinful!

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11 NIV)


Andrea said...

Thank you Mary for reminding us it is not our place to judge no matter how horrible the sin/crime. I, too struggle with this situation. As a Mom it is often hard for us to forgive and even pray for someone who harms a little child. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of praying more diligently for this mother.

Laurie said...

Good reminder! It is harder to forgive at times. It's only remembering in Christ's horrific death (and sinless, sacrificial life) that I am able to forgive in those harder times. And, sometimes it takes some time to do so!

Edie said...

I think this is a struggle we all will deal with until we make it Home.

My heart goes out to everyone involved in that case (for different reasons), but especially to that precious little baby and what she endured. I just keep reminding myself that she is safe and happy in the arms of Jesus right now.