Forgiveness #2: Encounter Love

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18)

We have all watched loving adults bend low or kneel down, making themselves small so they can be face-to-face with a child. Parents do this instinctively out of a desire to connect and be present with the child. Out of loving desire to relate to small ones, big people make themselves temporarily small. This is how God reasons with us.

Face-to-Face: (Exod. 33:11) “…as a man speaks to his friend”

Our God loves us! He desires to be face-to-face with us, longing to express love directly… seeking close relationship with us. God became small, taking the form of a man and becoming a servant (Phil. 2:6-8)… offering us forgiveness for all of our sin. This is the Christian story. God, coming to us as a baby, a child, a humble man. God coming to us in Jesus. The astonishing claim Jesus made was that if we have encountered Him… we have seen the Father. To encounter Jesus is to discover the Father’s heart… the One who made us, and loves us more than we could wrap our mind around. Jesus was our face-to-face encounter… and it begins with compassion, mercy and forgiveness!

Encountering Love that Forgives:

Jesus came to show us the love of the Father. But Jesus was not well received. People did not expect to see such love. Instead, they expected to see what we often expect to see in God… rigidity, harshness and stern enforcement of the rules… judgement, distance, rejection and exclusion. Instead, in Jesus, they encountered radical love… love that revealed the answer to a sin problem – forgiveness!

Jesus embodied God’s incredible love… love that included the outcast, that honored women, that respected and blessed children, that embraced enemies, that touched the contagious and healed the diseased, that extended hope to the rejected and confronted abusive religious hypocrisy. He revealed a love that valued relationship over rigid rule keeping and lived among the sinner, rather than a castle or mansion. Jesus told stories of God “the-waiting-Father” who runs like a servant to welcome us home and who sweeps like a woman to unearth her lost treasure. What was He searching for? Gold? No – someone to receive His love!

The Encounter:

Jesus had encounters with people in all sorts of odd places… like beaches or rivers, hill sides or gardens, in grave yards or vineyards, at wells or pools of Bethesda. Meeting was for encountering something bigger than belief systems… it was for the transforming the heart. Imagine the impact of Jesus, time and time again… His love reflected the heart of the Father in ways that deeply moved the poor, weak and broken. Forgiving Love is revolutionary, it heals the heart, delivers the soul and changes the way a person thinks about themselves and others. Its uniquely God’s heart, because it is so… counter-culture, other worldly… and supernatural.

The Apostle John said it best in this statement: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on (or given to) us, that we should be called the Children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 Jn. 3:1). Incredibly… in the encounter of beholding love… we come to know Him! We come to see His mercy and unyielding passion toward us. We experience love, by feeling the lifting of a burden we could never have been free of on our own. This is forgiveness… and it is truly the encounter of a lifetime.

Forgiveness is the encounter of love… by the only One we could call – Savior!

…Can I introduce you to My Savior!

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (Jn. 3:17)

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