Monday, April 6, 2015

Of Lawyers, Judges, and What's On Your Back

"I wish I'd never done it," she said, describing a post-college year of late-night dance clubs, too much alcohol, and men with unfamiliar names the next morning. Regret brimmed up and over her eyelashes now, and she twisted her blonde hair absentmindedly.
Photo: David, Creative Commons, cc license
We hugged in the crowded auditorium. I knew this woman, knew her heart, and knew that her history no longer defined her. It never really had, actually.

But we are the ones who pick up and slap labels on ourselves the fastest, the hardest. I do this. You do too. God lavishes us with forgiveness, compassionate understanding, and love, while we trail behind, dragging our feet and not quite believing he means what he says.

I've been reading the biblical book of Romans, where Paul marshals his arguments like a young John Grisham. In lean hard prose, Paul strips away any credentials religious people were scrambling for to prove their morality, and he shreds any excuses the irreligious grabbed as reasons for not getting to know the God of the universe.

On equal footing before the God of the world, loved deeply by the Creator who knows their names, humankind's verdict is clear, concise.

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace..." (Romans 3:22-24).

Whether you are ragged with regrets or worn out from scrambling to feel like a good person, we stand on equal footing before the God who loves us. In the week after Easter, we stand before a judge who says, "I've paid that price, paid the fine, paid the fee. Do you accept this gift?"

Labels are gone. Histories don't define us. They never have. The God of the world stands waiting...
 

7 comments:

Lisa notes... said...

Such a needed message for all of us, Jennifer. We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to labeling ourselves. I know I do it too. But if there's ever a label to wear, it's 'Loved by God.' Thanks for the encouragement to trust God's forgiveness.

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Well put Jennifer. I am soooooo glad I stand before a God where the ground is level and I am not compared to anyone else. Otherwise, I would be a loser for sure. I stand on and in His grace.

floyd sam said...

Excellent post and reminder, Jennifer. We're all in the same crowded boat.

Your heart of compassion and wisdom is what makes you a cherished leader.

Alecia Simersky said...

Much needed reminder for me after Easter. I often have to remind myself when old memories come rising from the ashes that Jesus paid that debt. The door is closed for good. As Lisa said, we can be our own worst enemies at times.

cabinart said...

Jennifer, that is the first time I've ever heard Paul's writing described as "lean"! Whenever I read his work, I think "That guy needed an editor!"

You summed it up well about the religious scrambling to prove their morality and the irreligious grabbing at excuses. I want to remember this summary - maybe you could edit Paul's writing for us!

Dolly @Soulstops said...

Jennifer,
Yes, we need to remember this whatever our background...we're loved by God...I'm glad you were able to encourage this young woman.

Cheryl Barker said...

Yes, on equal footing before God -- equally forgiven and equally loved. So thankful!