Here is the cool thing about being loved. Especially loved in a crazy unabashed God way. He is willing to forgive you when you mess up.
The world, at least in my experience, is less forgiving. My bosses, my clients, my colleagues, they can all be unforgiving. Not in a mean and intentional way, but in a way developed from years of measuring success in concrete metrics. If I mess up a project, then I might end up banned from the project team, or worse yet, fired. If I don’t achieve my year-end goals/targets/quotas, then my value is nominal to my team. A reservoir of forgiveness does not exist.
Reading the bestselling how-to-be-a-success books won’t reveal authors extolling permissive forgiveness in the workplace. Set goals and achieve them or eliminate the weak link. No second chances. Certainly no third chances. Sometimes, the driving force in that vicious cycle of seeking to lay claim to yet another award or achievement is fear that you will not receive a second chance if you do not add another win to your column. Fear of unforgiveness at work, or elsewhere, fuels that quest to pile up the awards and bring home another win. What do they say? You’re only as good as your last game. Wow. Talk about scary.
So if we are trying to break this cycle of endlessly chasing after the earthly metrics of success, what more freeing way to escape than by accepting that we are forgiven? Forgiven for where we have already failed (to do right, to earn our keep, to achieve the goal) and forgiven for the mistakes we have yet to make.
Many of us wrestle with accepting forgiveness. We are already so hard on ourselves. We demand nothing less than perfection. While there is nothing wrong with striving for the gold standard, if you become despondent because you will accept nothing less then you never have room to breath.
I know this study is focused on the working woman and seeking satisfaction in the constant assurance of our worth in God. But I would hate it if we missed the larger forgiveness promise. We have all made mistakes in our personal lives. I have messed up and have caused others pain. In the thick of personal struggles, all those mistakes come surging to the forefront of my thoughts, and I am overwhelmed. I love the words of Psalm 103, and I run to it when I’m struggling: Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse,nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Please do not miss this. I can not change the PAST. It is over. Because I am a child of God, and have sought it, I am forgiven. Our mistakes are as far apart as the east is from the west. The Bible says HE REMEMBERS IT NO MORE. We don’t get what we deserve, thankfully, because He does not repay us according to our mistakes since He has forgiven us.
You are not perfect. I am not perfect. So what? You are forgiven. I am forgiven. God forgives. With that forgiveness comes redemption. He clears the slate. How do I know?
Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
Psalm 103:3-4,12: [He] who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion… as far as the east is from the west,so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Daniel 9:9: The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.
Ephesians 1:7: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
Psalm 130:2-7: If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope…put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.