Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Posts tagged ‘Forgiveness’

Soothing Oil

Entering my trashed apartment was like entering a mind diseased.

Your whole head is injured

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Carpet blanketed in filth –

Kitchen sink smeared with a brown film –

Your whole heart afflicted.

Food rotting in the refrigerator –

Windows broken –

From the sole of your foot to the top of your head, there is no soundness.

Counters and cabinets strewn with debris –

Walls pot marked with myriad holes, screws, and nails –

Only wounds and welts and open sores.

Hundreds of decals placed for hallucinogenic affect.

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Legal eviction had vacated the occupants, but not their mess. They had left that job for me.

I donned gloves and mask, scooped leftover items off the counters, and dumped decayed food from the refrigerator.

In less than six months, two people with diseased minds had turned a pristine, freshly painted, scrubbed and impeccably furnished apartment into a rat’s hole. They were two human beings caught in a trap of disrespect, dishonesty, and low living.

One glance at their mug shot and my son, quite snarkily, had commented, “How did you say ‘yes’ to that face?”

Not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil. (Isaiah 1: 5b- 6)

Eight heavy contractor bags later, I was down to the walls. Colored paper, butterflies, and flowers stuck to the sheet rock, the plaster clinging and tearing as I peeled. Bit by bit. Like the thoughts that dinged my brain with each decal ripped from the wall.

Disgust. Bitterness. Superiority. No soundness.

Human hands had pasted each item and pounded each nail into a scattering of holes my own hands would have to patch. My hands, created just like theirs. They were two fellow humans caught in a web. How had they become oppressed?

Caught in a web of its own, my heart was an open sore. I couldn’t clean up their heart or mind, but mine required soothing oil. I was willing.

Stop the meaningless religious rituals (Isaiah 1:7-15)

A prayer. A decision. Thoughts flowed: Compassion. Humility. Cleansing forgiveness. The good things of the land. Plenty of bandages and soothing oil.

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Come, let us settle the matter, says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. (Isaiah. 1:17-19)

Every head, every heart has wounds and open sores. Yours. Mine. Be willing to be cleansed. Know the Holy Spirit’s soothing oil.

A Dying Moon

Image of Moon thru the windowWith my toddler son’s room dark and the rocker scooted near the window, we watched the moon rise. Its light held compelling mystique. Day or night, he enjoyed searching the sky to find it. In winter when the sky was clear and the moon was full and far away, its beams radiated through the glass in the shape of a cross.

“The moon’s on a cross, Momma! Look, the moon’s on a cross.”

“Mmmm, yes, it looks like it. The window pane makes the moonlight look like a cross.”

“The moon die, Momma, the moon die!”

“Jesus made the moon, didn’t He? And Jesus died on the cross.”

Beyond that feeble answer, I tried to share, with Holy Spirit nudging, the glorious light that shines from that cross. He needed to understand the truth that God loved Him, and every human being, more than life itself.

The cross proved it.

It proved “. . . that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself . . .not counting their trespasses against them . . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

It proved “. . . that the power of God takes the form of death and that real well-being and victory only appear via death.” (Walter Brueggermann)

It proved that the upside down mindset of the Kingdom of this World turns right side up when the Kingdom of Heaven appears.

For what other type of king or president or general would willingly submit to his enemy’s torture? What other type of king would forgive those in the act of murdering him? What other type of king, while dying, would show grace to a thief and promise entrance into his kingdom?

What a King is Jesus! What a Kingdom is God’s!

Such light, such marvelous light.

A dying, moon beam cross holds no comparison.

Has the light of the cross shone in your life? Specifically, how has it shone? Tell me a story of Jesus!

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” — Matthew 4:16 (NIV)

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