God may have loved me before but not after I did that thing I did…
Not after I drank away the last ten years, not after I cheated on my wife for the seventh time, not after I walked out on my husband and kids and hopped from one person’s bed to another. God can’t save me after everything I’ve done. There must be a limit to grace.
The lost son would have had thoughts much like these as he made his way back to his father. Jesus portrayed him as a whoring ingrate, the most disrespectful child one could have, yet the father(God) never stopped loving him, and hoping. There was enough grace for him.
Paul was a zealous Pharisee, so consumed by religious pride that he volunteered to lead a posse of Christian hunters to track down and imprison and sometimes even kill the followers of Jesus who claimed that he rose from the dead. There was enough grace for him.
Peter was Jesus’ best friend on earth and had seen miracle after miracle. He told Jesus that he would never leave him yet three times he denied knowing him the night Jesus needed him the most; then he deserted him. There was enough grace for him.
Don’t think that you are beyond God’s saving grace. Don’t think you must clean up your life before you can think about whether Jesus is who said he is. Just because your friend or brother can’t forgive you and your corner church won’t accept you because it is full of Pharisees, doesn’t mean God won’t. Don’t compare his love to ours, his ability to forgive with ours. He is God.
We, people, constantly try to put limits on God. We have only witnessed so much love so there cannot be any more love than that available to us from God. We have only seen so much mercy in our lives so God can only be so merciful. There is a limit to what I can forgive so God must have his limits too. God can’t be that merciful, or that loving, or that forgiving.
We often come to believe in this watered-down man-god figure in our heads who isn’t powerful enough to create a sneeze and isn’t forgiving enough to extend enough grace to cover the amount and severity of sins of someone like me. But that god is a figment of our limited imagination. You cannot stuff an infinite GOD into any sized box, and you cannot stuff an infinite amount of grace into any sized universe.
Jesus didn’t die for the perfect. There aren’t any. He died for the broken-hearted sinner. The prostitutes, the thieving tax collectors, the adulterers, liars, and cheaters, these sinners heard forgiveness in Jesus’ message. Remember, he said it was not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Jesus came for the diseased, for the ungodly. He came for me, and he came for you.
He didn’t die for us after we cleaned up our act either, but before, when we were at our very worst. Romans 5:8 says; “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Think of your worst moment, your meanest or most selfish or heartless moment. That is when Jesus looked at you and said, I will take the nails. There is enough grace for you.
Adapted from my book, “Christianity in Plain Language”, available right here.