Thursday, October 9, 2014

9 | Be Forgiven

Do you like Jimmy John's?  I like Jimmy John's.  Here's my favorite thing about dining there.  (Ha!  I say "dining" like it's a fancy schmancy place.  But as long as I'm not cooking and cleaning, it does feel downright fancy schmancy.)

Jimmy John's has great signs.

Their signs are entertaining, educational, and great reminders about how to live a good life.  Take, for instance, this one about "proper apologies."

Wampa-One via
I've used this three-part rule with my kiddo, my students, and even myself.  It's a little hard to read, so let me transcribe.
Proper Apologies Have Three Parts
1.  What I did was wrong.
2.  I feel badly that I hurt you.
3.  How can I make this better.
I love how this formula focuses not just on the mistake, but the ramifications and the restitution of the problem.

What does this have to do with stillness?  Good question.

I don't know about you, but sometimes when I'm having trouble being still before God, or when I'm plain old avoiding God, it's because I'm stuck on one of the three parts of apologizing for one of my many sins.  Have you ever seen a fidgety kid, caught in the act of true naughtiness, squirming to find some way out of the laser-like focus of a parent?  Yep.  It's hard to be still when we are confronted with our sin.

When I find myself shouldering a doozy of a mistake, squirming to get out from under its weight, I need to unload that shame.  I have to let it go at the foot of the cross, where Jesus died so that we might be saved from our sins.  Where God stands ready to take our mistakes, forgive them, and forget them, casting them to the opposite corner of the world.

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."  Isaiah 43:25

God not only forgives, he chooses to forget.  He removes our sins from us, placing it far, far away, “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).

Jesus paid for our sins once.  One-time payment with the all-time selfless, loving act of sacrifice.  We don't need to keep sacrificing, keep burdening ourselves with them. That just burdens our relationship with God.  All we need to do is offer up a proper apology.

So why do I hang on to my sins?  Why am I reluctant to embrace God's grace and forgiveness?  Why do I continue to squirm in shame?
I wish I knew.  But what I do know is this: God will get me to true and lasting belief that my sins are forgiven and gone.

If I repent by 1) acknowledging my mistakes, 2) admitting to how they hurt God, others, and myself, and 3) turning back to God seeking his better way, then God promises complete and perfect forgiveness.  He clears the way for me to be made new in Christ.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 
2 Corinthians 5:17
I need signs to remind me of this, to break me out of my doubts about complete and permanent forgiveness.  So I can really let go and let God to a new thing in me.  So I created these over at and I'm using them as book marks, note paper, signs on the mirror, you name it.  If you like signs, too, feel free to click on the caption below your favorite image(s) for a link to a free printable.  You can't have too many reminders to embrace God's grace!

Fresh Start

Embrace God's Grace

Forgiven Forever!
2 Corinthians 5:17
image credit: Amy Westerman Photography

Will you please join me in this prayer of releasing our past mistakes for the forgiven stillness of the present?


You know the thoughts of my heart before I even voice them.  You know the sins I hang onto even though you've promised forgiveness.  

Help me to release this guilt, this shame, this clinging to the past.  Help me to embrace your grace-filled forgiveness, to feel comfortable being made shiny new and squeaky clean in your love, and to be open to the spacious room that makes in our relationship.  Where I harbor doubt and question my worth, remind me that your grace is not about what I've done or not done, but instead about your loving goodness toward me.  

I accept this free gift, no strings attached.  I cut the lingering cobwebby strands of my shame so I can walk, light and free, in your footsteps.  And I promise to hold dear the signs and reminders that I am forgiven and made new in Christ.


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