Many times, we brace ourselves and wait for God to hit our lives with some fire and brimstone moment. However, there are no free-prisoners in righteousness, yet we are convinced our prior cycles and life struggles could not have been forgiven.
So, daily we become haunted by deceptive voices and past repeated offenses echoing that God is perhaps a wrathful liar who holds mercy in contempt. However, the depth of God’s love for us was visually represented full of grace and mercy in Jesus’ death on the cross.
During a women’s community group meeting, we were asked to ponder how can we position ourselves to receive the truth about God’s merciful love. I have come to realize how understanding “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” is important to receiving God’s love and his perspective of who I am (Romans chapter 8, verse 1). I believe the position to take is from the viewpoint of the grantor. To receive his love, then know how and why he loves.
Perspective is everything
Have you ever prayed for God to help you to see you the way he does? Three years ago, I felt so far away from God and desperately needed an encouraging word. There was a worship gathering an hour away from my town, so I attended. On my way there, I stopped to purchase “crying tissue” to assist with the loathing thoughts I felt God had towards me.
My plan was to walk in that theatre and beg yet again for God to speak to me, or have the perfect Bible verse just drop in my mind to be my answered prayer. Even if it was confirmed that God was angry at me, I thought at least it was better than the silence and loneliness I felt. I wanted him to be loud. I needed him to be loud.
God was gentle and breathe taking in that theatre. He spoke in a whisper through a song about how God’s mercy triumphs over judgement. He gave me what I needed not wanted or thought I desired. He spoke that the season I was walking in was not destruction or hardships. Gentle restoration and establishment were his judgement because I turned away from that what displeased God and began to walk in obedience.
I was looking for God maybe to say I was still far from Him; however, the response I got was totally opposite of what I was expecting.
Through a slender blonde staff member, a gentle prayer was spoken as we held hand after service. She ended the prayer by saying, “I take delight in you. You are the apple of my eye. Let’s go on an adventure. I know you are serious and deep, but the goofy and fun parts are safe to show.”
God didn’t see me as a disobedient daughter striking to get back in his good graces. He doesn’t even want us to strive anyway, but we are to turn to him and trust his leading. In that moment, I found out he loves my laughs, dancing, and sense of humour. He sees me as his daughter and not a prodigal on trial. He instructed me to strength any gaps through quality time and laughter.
It was time to take it back to the beginning. It’s what brought me to depths of my relationship with God anyway. We don't have to be dragged through the mud to get to the palace because the mercy seat has better navigation.
Love is a judgment
It was difficult at one point to embrace that love and kindness is a judgment No matter the intense anticipation I had of God's condemning gavel, he reminded me that his love was enough. Sometimes we forget repentance is more than a confession statement or prayer, but it is an action.
Repentance prompted by God's kindness and sealed with God’s forgiveness does come with a commitment assistant name the Holy Spirit and not [insert your name here]. Therefore, there is no amount of good deeds we can do that will erase/make up for our wrongs.
Operating in such a self-righteous system creates a false atonement. A system--a set of connected things or parts from a complex whole--was already created and completed through God the Father who created me, his Son who saved me, and the Holy Spirit who now guides me into all truth. Will you accept his mercy or live a prisoner of condemnation?
Tamika P. Smith lives in Texas where she enjoys teaching high school students. She serves in the children, women, and prison ministry at her church.
Tamika P. Smith lives in Texas, U.S.A. where she enjoys teaching high school students. She serves in the children, women, and prison ministry at her church.