This week I was convicted that I needed to apologize to a loved one for my part in a mutual misunderstanding. So I did. And I meant it.
“Thanks for the apology,” he said sincerely. And I waited for several beats, certain his own apology would soon be forthcoming. It wasn’t, which irked me to no small degree.
Why was I so bothered? Why was I annoyed all over again? I can tell you now that it was because my apology did not originate from a love for God.
I had (rightly) asked for forgiveness, but what I really most wanted was for him to apologize to me. I expected to hear those sweet words, “I was wrong. I can see why you were upset. I’m at fault here too.”
My noble I’ll-go-first apology was a cover for my real motivation. By taking the ‘high-road’, my intent was to coax out my justification to behave badly. Of course, I accept your apology. I would then graciously respond. I forgive you for causing me to act like a jerk.
This is why Christians are not allowed to not read the Bible. Becuase that is where God reminds us that he sees into our hearts and he knows. He knows! The Bible shows us that we are fastened to a God whose every inclination is to forgive and forgive and forgive, no matter the response, or posture, or awareness of the one forgiven.
Today, the day in-between Good Friday and Easter, I think about the curtain in the temple, ripped right in two. I imagine Jesus striding through the Dread – through the curtain of hell – to conquer the fear of death of those he had come to save.
And I think about the priests who stood there that day and had to figure out how to sew that curtain back up so that the temple sacrifices could resume; so God might remain hidden to all but a few. And this image makes me weep.
One day the trumpet will sound and every motivation of every heart will be unearthed and only what was done in love of our forgiving God will stand. What in my life will actually stand? If I’m honest this causes me more fear than peace. Have I done anything – anything at all?! – purely for the love of God? Am I even a Christian?
But the Bible reminds me that my Judge is also my Redeemer. He crossed every boundary of heaven and earth to bring me securely home to God. He will show me the scars from his wounds, and they will be the most beautiful thing any of us will see in heaven.
Do I love him? Will I follow him through the curtain? Can I forgive like he forgives?
All sins, forgiven out of love for Christ will be forgiven. And all the suffering, if suffered from a love for God, will be transformed into eternal glory on Mt. Zion.
And all things; big or small; seen and unseen; spoken or unspoken; if they are said and done in love for Christ will stand forever.
Peace to you and yours this day, because the curtain was torn in two you and for many. Happy Easter!