She watched it burn completely!!
Last Sunday I preached on understanding forgiveness. This is the beginning of a three week series on forgiveness, a topic many people talk about yet few understand and live into it. I challenged the congregation to think of one major regret they hold onto, something they still do not feel completely forgiven for. We tend to believe in God's forgiveness but we do not fully accept that God forgives us completely and remembers it no more. We think it's still there, tarnishing our soul and we will have to deal with it sometime, maybe even in Heaven. I asked everyone to write down that one sin we needed to be completely forgiven for. Then as they left the sanctuary to drop the paper in a fire pit we set up outside the building. I watched as hundreds of people dropped their piece of paper into the fire. People did this and walked on toward their cars. One lady caught my attention. She was emotional as she left the building and walked toward the fire pit. She dropped her piece of paper and then stood there intently watching it burn. She definitely needed the assurance that this time it was gone, grace was complete for her and she could move on.
This is my prayer for all of us, that we will let God's grace thrive deep in us. Accept God's full and unconditional forgiveness and love for you. Do not bring up again that past sin. Stop punishing yourself with its painful memory. Live a new life in Christ!
One poet says we need to take a walk in the garden of forgiveness. Pick a flower for every thing we surrender to God and for everything God has forgiven us for. Then hold up the bouquet and enjoy the beauty of the person God has adorned us now to be. I hope springtime brings you many such bouquets. You are precious in the eyes of your Creator God, the Heavenly Father who loves you and has given you life!