I’ve no need to be reminded
Of all my failures and my sins
For I can write my own indictment
Of who I am and who I’ve been
I know that grace, by definition,
Is something I can never earn
But for all the things that I may have missed
There’s a lesson I believe that I have learned
There’s a hand of kindness
Holding me, holding me
There’s a hand of kindness
Holding me, holding onto me
–Bob Bennett, HAND OF KINDNESS
1996 Bright Avenue Songs (ASCAP)
It’s hard to forget the evil you’ve done–and forgiveness, well, dream on! I saw a video once of a parade of flagellants walking in unison, lashing themselves with whips, to somehow find peace, and some sort of atonement for their sins. I watched them, and suddenly the realization came–I was doing what they were doing, only not as public or visible.
Psychiatrists tell us that 90% of mental disorders are caused by guilt; I believe that they’re probably a little conservative. I’ve been in some sort of ministry for 40 years now–I’ve pretty much heard it all. I ask myself and wonder, who can help the stumbling, broken, and captive hearts of men?
I’ve seen therapists and psychiatrists–been confined to mental hospitals for endless weeks, put on meds, and survived suicide watches. I’ve cut my wrists and had my stomach pumped–twice I think. It’s very difficult to explain grace and forgiveness to someone who has laid in his own urine and feces for hours in a drunken stupor. I’m profoundly blessed that God has forgiven and forgotten, (Micah 7:19).
Sometimes an animal who’s been caught in a steel trap will actually chew their leg off to escape. Sometimes a man will destroy himself in order to find forgiveness. Now I admit that our guilt isn’t always front and center, and seldom is it obvious–we’ve suppressed it, medicated it, and ignored it for so long, that it’s hidden and secret–even to us.
If the cross of Jesus hasn’t been applied–it’s still there, hidden and dormant. You can’t continue to paint over it, expecting to cover it with enough layers of denial. The booze and the drugs, the money and the red Ferrari, the quest for some measure of success just won’t cut it. There a 1000 ways to bury it, but your past will cripple your present, and destroy your future.
The cross and blood are not optional. Jesus’ death and resurrection isn’t just a historical event. It’s himself–God’s lamb, offered up to forgive your sin–and your greatest evil. Those dark sins that you’ve hidden, that’s been buried so deep that even you’ve forgotten, sometimes it bursts out like a spiritual volcano, the pressure sort of builds up and then erupts. Suddenly it’s all real again–and it’s so brutal.
You need to turn and believe him. No matter who you are, or how twisted and black your sin you think your sin is–maybe you’ve broken every commandment–a hundred times. I tell you, your sin has already been forgiven, your dark guilt lifted off your back. He has forgiven you. You are completely free.
This isn’t a silly cliche. It’s not just a cute saying. All your guilt has been removed. You must believe this, it’s not an option any longer. You must know that his bloody death (he’s your sacrificial lamb) has God’s approval and removes your awful sin. His hand reaches out to you. But you must believe this. We must renounce our sin, give it up, and walk away from it. We must receive God’s gift of salvation.
If you want to think about this further, I strongly suggest you consider this–“God’s Forgiveness.”