Monday, May 11, 2009

Learning About Forgiveness From My Preschooler

"Mommy, Sissy took my baby doll and won't give it back!"

"Did you ask her sweetly to give it back to you?"

"Yes, but she won't do it."

"Alright, go tell Sissy to come talk with Mommy."

In comes my three, almost four-year old.

"Did you take Sissy's doll?"

"Yes."

"Did you ask her for it?"

"No"

"Well, honey, if you didn't ask, that's called stealing. Does Jesus want us to steal?"

Bursting into tears, "No!"

"That's right, sweetie, the Bible says: 'Thou shalt not steal', doesn't it?"

"Yes!" she says, crying harder.

"Honey, are you sorry for stealing from your sister?"

"Yes!"

"Well, you need to go tell Sissy you are sorry and ask for her forgiveness, don't you?"

"Yes, I will Mommy. I'm toe torry for doing dat! I'm toe torry for disobeying you! I'm toe torry for disobeying Jesus!"

"Well, I forgive you, and I know Jesus does, too, sweetie. Now go and tell Sissy."

A few moments pass and she comes back to tell me that she talked with Sissy. I asked her if Sissy forgave her and she said "yes," but she is still crying hysterically.

"Honey, you have been forgiven! I am glad you have such a repentant heart over your sin, but do you understand that Jesus, Mommy, and Sissy have all forgiven you totally and completely? It is over and your sin has been cast far, far away from you. Jesus doesn't even remember your sin any more! Isn't that wonderful?"

"Yes, Mommy, but I'm toe, toe torry!"

"I know you are, dear, but you need to forgive yourself now. Jesus doesn't want you to hold onto that guilt... Instead, He wants you to rejoice! He wants you to praise Him and be joyful! When He died on the cross for your sins, He did it for all of your sins! You can be happy now!"

Do you ever do this? I know I do.

Berating ourselves for sin that has already been forgiven is so easy to do. Letting the enemy hang that sin over our heads and remind us of it constantly—succumbing to the guilt—is not an acceptance of forgiveness. It is, rather, a hanging onto the very thing Christ died to eliminate: our debt.

Part of the Christian life is coming to grips with the freedom we have been given in Christ. It is done. He said, "It is finished!" He meant it. When we accept that gift freely, we need to live it freely as well.

Let go of the guilt! Rejoice! Your Saviour has paid it all! Live in the fullness of His joy! It is His gift to you forever, if you are His! And to be His, all you can do is believe that He finished it for you, rest in it, and cease striving to earn it by constantly trying to add to His free gift through wallowing in grief. Godly grief over sin lasts for a little bit, but it does not hang on to us for sin has lost its death-grip on us when Christ uttered the words, "IT IS FINISHED!"

REJOICE in this gift you have been given! Rather than wallow around in grief, turn your mourning into dancing, praise, and adoration of the One Who has done it all. All for you.

"Honey, let's turn on some praise music, get the hymnals, pick a song, and thank Jesus together for dying on the cross for our sins. What song do you want to sing with me to bless Jesus?" This I said while holding her close to my heart.

Your Saviour does the same for you...

Extravagant love. Extravagant grace. It is yours. Revel in it!

6 comments:

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

How early we learn to get this wrong! I'm glad your little ones have a wise mommy to help redirect their thinking on forgiveness. :-)

Nancy Wilson also had a recent helpful post on this: http://femina.reformedblogs.com/2009/04/26/grief-and-guilt/

Sonya said...

Beautiful Amy. Love you and miss you!

Amy Howard said...

Thank you, Sonya! I love and miss you too!! I was just telling Jim Bob how I miss your sweet smile :)

The Wintons said...

This is beautiful, Amy. I've missed hearing from you on your blog; I know you've been so busy with your move, though. How are things going? I've prayed for you as the Lord has brought your family to mind.

Love Your Sister in Christ,
Lisa

Amy Howard said...

Thank you for your prayers, Lisa!

You are right, we have been extremely busy for the last couple of months. Things are settling down a little bit, although last week I was surprised by an offer to write again. More details about this in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say that God provides in such inexplicable ways sometimes!

I have to tell you, Lisa, your family's CD is some of my family's favorite listening!!! Anyone reading through this comment, I encourage you to go look at Lisa's blog and buy their CD! Excellent stuff!

The Wintons said...

That is so sweet, Amy, I'm so glad your family is enjoying the CD! I can't wait to hear about the writing project, what a blessing. When God closes a door He sometimes opens a window, right? ;o)