When you’re completely honest with yourself, you probably can find something from your past that you are not at all proud of. I know I can. Much too easily!
There was a kid in our neighborhood that for no reason at all was not included in our play. In fact, whenever possible we tended to pick on her.
One day she left a little doll dressed in a kimono in my yard so the rest of us gathered in the clubhouse and began dismantling the doll and bidding for the parts. I’m quite sure that I was the leader of this despicable act! I distinctly remember saying to the others, “It serves her right for leaving her doll in MY yard!” I know I took my fair share of the doll’s parts and got lots of goodies from the others too!
Later that same evening, the little girl’s mother came over to talk with my mom. I hid in my room. But kept an ear to the door to see if I was in trouble! I was. Big trouble! The little girl was devastated and her mother quite concerned. Apparently, this doll had been sent to her by her father from Japan and it held a special place in the little girl’s heart.
That kimono-wrapped doll was the last contact she had from her father before he was killed by a sniper’s bullet immediately after the War. In fact, it wasn’t even delivered until after the news of his death.
My heart froze as I heard the story from our neighbor. I felt even worse when I overheard my mother assuring her that she would check with me to see if I’d seen it but she was quite certain that I hadn’t or I would have returned it already! I just knew God was going to send me directly to hell—I wouldn’t even be allowed to pass “Go”! Only 5 or 6 years old and already doomed to an eternity of fire and brimstone!
I was about as scared as a kid could get. There’s no happy ending to this story. At least not way back then. For most of my life, I had to live with the fear of my condemnation to hell until I finally accepted Jesus as my Lord at the age of 44.
But here’s the good part. Jesus loves us just where we are—warts and all! My selfishness, my greed, my total insensitivity to others, none of this was big enough to keep God away from me. He wanted me as one of His. No matter what! And He pursued me until He got me.
If I were forced to say what the one quality I love most in our Lord God is, I guess I’d have to say His forgiving heart. It blows my mind that He can, does and will forgive anything we do.
I don’t ever want to put myself in a position requiring His forgiveness again—not after that ordeal way back then. But unfortunately, I sin today in spite of my myself. And you know what? He continues to forgive.
He knows my heart. He knows I want more than anything to please Him. I just need help. And when He forgives me, I find it easier to forgive others. If I become angry with someone, I remember how I grieve God every time I sin and how He always welcomes my repentant heart back into His arms.