I used to work at as a bank teller. Part of our training was to be prepared for a robbery situation. I would wonder what I would do if I was actually held hostage at gunpoint? I have watched many movies where a robber holds a gun at someone’s head and it’s intense watching to see what is going to happen. I can’t imagine how scared I would be to know my life is in the hand’s of a man who has a gun to my head. The agony of the moment, in wondering will this be my last breath? Praying for God to intervene and the robber to let me go. I can’t imagine being in a hostage situation.
Yet many times I have felt as though I was being held hostage by others, unwilling to let me go from my past mistakes because of their lack of understanding the grace of our Lord. I don’t know about you but I have made some big messes in my life. The truth is, if God did categorize sin as we tend to do, mine would be at the top for sure. The good news for me and you is, God does NOT categorize sin.
God takes our messes and He makes us white as snow. He cleans us all up! I read in a blog post earlier, “Christ enters my mess and yours. He does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. He forgives, restores, and makes righteous what was unclean!”
Years ago at church camp, it began to rain. Rather than let the rain spoil our good time, the teens started a mudslide. Before I knew it, I was part of this mudslide. We were all covered from head to toe in mud. When we went to take our kids to shower, and ourselves, the shower curtains were even brown! We were so dirty and nasty. Yet in a little while, the water cleaned us right up and the next day you couldn’t tell that previously mud had covered every part of our bodies!
Christ takes our dirty messes and cleans us right up with His righteousness! He tells us in Romans 8, there is NO condemnation in Christ. Once we confess our sin to Him, He takes it and buries it as far as the east is from the west. Never to be remembered again! He tells us in I Peter 5:10 , “After you have suffered a little while, Christ will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Isn’t that great? Now listen to that verse out the The Message, “The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ-eternal and glorious plans they are!-will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes he does.” I just love to read that. God takes our broken lives, our sin-stained lives and forgives us and puts us back together as only He could and He sits back proud of what He has accomplished through us. He doesn’t hold our sin over our head, no He forgives and gives us His grace that is endless. That is the God we serve.
So when is the last time you held someone hostage? If we are to be more like Jesus, we need to remember when He forgives, He imparts grace immediately. There is no time limit where God watches the individual and says, ” Hmmm, I think I will watch Tammy for a couple of years and see how she does, then I will impart all my grace to her and fully forgive her. But until then, I will keep a close watch on her, just in case she messes up again.” That is not what God does my friends! So if we are to be like our Jesus we need to stop looking at the sin and remember we are all sinners, oh but for the grace of God, where would I be? It is not our place to be the judge here on earth. God is the only righteous judge. He didn’t appoint me or you. He keeps NO record of wrongs.
I encourage you to ask God to give you a measure of grace to impart to others. If we want to be more like Jesus, start here, today. I love the line in the song that says, My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God my Savior has ransomed me… I am so thankful God cleaned up my mess, forgave me and restored me. My chains are gone forever, and never to be held against me again! There is great freedom in Christ. Who are you holding hostage today? Let them go in the name of Jesus and watch your chains fall, and you will witness the great freedom of serving God and truly being His hands and feet.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.