My Caroline told a lie yesterday. I knew it was a lie as the words were stumbling from her lips. A combination of her mannerisms and instantly shameful demeanour was a dead giveaway to her mother that knows her well. Her father and I just stared at her silently, and with no real physical evidence to support what we both knew to be true, we decided to hold our tongues for the moment. We kissed her and sent her back to bed, as we had already put her to bed for the night once that evening. She carried herself upstairs and I could hear her feet were moving slow, dragging a bit from the burden that she was surely carrying with her to bed. I had a hard time sleeping last night because of it. I knew she was feeling guilty and I know my Caroline well enough to know the lie was weighing on her.
The next afternoon while we were sitting on the sofa together, I felt prompted to ask her if there was anything bothering her. Within a matter of seconds, tears pooled in her eyes and her voice was quivering. She confessed that she had lied to us last night because she was afraid she would be in trouble if she had told the truth. Had I been able to see the face of God at that very moment, I do not doubt that He would have winked at me. I smiled at the opportunity and was quick to flood that sweet girl of mine with grace and forgiveness. What a perfect chance to reflect a glimmer of the character of our Father.
God tells us in Isaiah 43:25 that He is the one that blots out our transgressions and remembers our sins no more. And just in case we missed it the first time, He repeats himself again in Jeremiah 31:34, "For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more". Not only does He forgive our sins, an act that is undeserved from a righteous God, but He promises to remember them no more. God doesn't waste words and I think He knew that we would need to know that He would remember them no more. I think He knew that we would try and pick up our cloak of shame and hide our faces underneath it's hood. I think He knew that we would always wonder "well what if 'it' gets brought up again, or what if He is up there keeping score". I think He knew that Fear would creep back in and try to rob us of God's gift by whispering "He knows what you have done". I think He knew that Caroline was going to come back into my room and say "but Mommy, I can't get it out of my brain". I think He knows us well, and He knew that we (like Caroline) would need to hear our Father say "I will remember their sins no more".
Have you let this Truth settle into the weary, shame filled parts of your soul? Did you know that it is a choice to do so? Did you know that whether or not you feel forgiven and restored, if you have asked for it, then you have received it. It is your choice to believe or not believe the promise, but rest assured that God delivers on what He promises. Before Jesus could finish his words on the cross "Father, forgive them", I believe that God had granted it. After all, He seemed to like granting the requests of His son in whom He was well pleased. And likewise, Caroline had my forgiveness before her first tear fell from her eyes...whether she believes it or not.