Part 4: The Rare Mercy of Unconditional Love
When you find yourself paralyzed or plagued by the shame of your past, or the pain you have caused, the Gospel is there to remind you that there is a deeper work that has been done. When the enemy reminds and accuses us by saying “Look at what you have done” Jesus shouts in return a resounding “Look at what I have done!” You may never get over the guilt and shame, the wounds and hurts you have either caused or experienced but Jesus provided everything you need to move on in your story and send the enemy packing! “It is Finished” means It is finished. Your sins are remembered no more!
Wether you are well known or nobody knows anything about you. Many people, when they have been “found out,” begin to live isolated and ashamed inside the consequences of their self-inflicted wounds.
If the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents, then the church of God joins the angelic chorus when it throws a party over the restoration of one of its own. It’s right on the Father’s heels as he runs out to welcome the prodigal son. It too weeps tears of joy on his shoulder. And in the grace-filled, joyous embrace, there is healing for all. There is a feast for all. For he who was dead is alive again. He who was lost is found. Let the world shake its head and walk away in disgust, but let the community of God gather round the disgraced and become friends of that sinner. And in so doing, bear witness that Jesus established a church big enough and gracious enough for all.
And, who knows, by doing so, the church might also come to realize that the one who is touched, who is welcomed, who is healed, bears the exact same image as ourselves. We and they, along with every single person in this wrecked and fallen world, are the same: we’re all gasping for that rare mercy of unconditional love.