Thursday, August 23, 2012

God, Forgive High School Me

image by: Egan Snow
I fell asleep with the window open and woke up cold with the chill smell of leaves blowing through my room.  The particular cold botanical aroma of late summer awoke memories of Interlochen, the northern Michigan arts camp where I spent the last week of every summer for all four years of high school.  Filled with nostalgia, I also felt regret as I remembered those years.  I did not live up to the standard by which I judged others.  I was rude, fearful, and self-righteous.  Since high school, I’ve apologized to many of my friends for the person I was.  (If you feel you deserve an apology but have been left out, please let me know.)
I think I've improved as a person since then, but I don’t want to focus on that; it is unimportant.  Hopefully we do improve as we live life, but life isn’t ultimately about self-improvement.  Being better now doesn’t remove the consequences of my words and actions, not can it earn forgiveness. I personally must remember this or I fall back into self-righteousness.  Christianity doesn't smile on self-righteousness.
As I understand, teach, and live it, Christianity has little to do with good behavior or morals.  It can produce them, but at it's core Christianity is repeatedly realizing that our most heroic efforts to live holy lives have been unsuccessful (Isaiah 64:6), and finding that God offers his unconditional love to us no matter what we’ve done.  Regardless of how we've failed, God loves us more than we can imagine.  God readily forgives us, no matter how we embarrassingly we’ve behaved.


Read The Parable of the Prodigal Son today.  Did you know that “prodigal” means “Wasteful?”  Both boys were wasteful.  While one wasted his dad’s money; the other wasted precious time withholding forgiveness.  Which boy is most like you?  Whichever one you are, God welcomes you into his presence with open arms.  Jesus loves you relentlessly, with love you’re worst actions can never undermine.  Sometimes we struggle to accept this. We try to earn God’s love, but it’s free and can only ever be free.  When do you find it difficult to accept God’s love?  What wears down your resistance?


  1. David,

    I'll tell you why I'm sometimes the younger prodigal and sometimes the older. It's just like you said. I don't trust God's love.

    Oh, I believe it in my head, sure enough. Most of the time. But in my heart? I sometimes think I have to grasp for joy on my own instead of trusting God--believe in my heart that He is for me (even more than I am for me!).

    Thanks for the reminder. Great blog.


  2. I struggle with behaving like the older son. he walked through life self-satisfied, thinking he was doing the "right thing" but all along he was doing it for the wrong reasons. Funny how everyday happenings in life bring us face to face with our real self. And then what? God's response to sin, no matter what it looks like, whether blatant or hidden, is to forgive. Realizations like that are never pleasant but it's important to remember that the Holy Spirit is at work bringing out of flesh and blood our real, God-alive, God-forgiven nature.


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