“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” ~Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
It is difficult for us to fully understand the mercy and grace that God, our Heavenly Father, extends to us. His divine goodness is simply beyond human comprehension. As I remember my earthly father this Father’s Day weekend, I realize just how blessed I was to have a dad who gave me a little glimpse of God’s favor and kindness throughout my life.
It was this time of the year, 30 years ago, that I most vividly remember feeling that mercy and grace. I was graduating from high school and attended a graduation party at a friend’s house. One thing led to another and I came home drunk.
My parents didn’t address anything with me that night and I remember waking up the next morning, filled with dread. I had woken up before anyone else and I sat there, scared to death of facing my parents.
I remember watching my father coming down the steps as I was sitting at the end of the couch. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t even look at him. He came over to me, gently placed his hand on my cheek and said, “Everything is okay. I love you.” Not another word was ever said to me about it and the incident was never brought up again.
Our Heavenly Father looks upon us, his children, in that same way. He is the initiator of mercy and grace and it is from Him that all grace and mercy flow. My dad knew how to show mercy and grace because God had first extended those things to him in his own life.
God showed us mercy when He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus, on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but He didn’t stop there. In addition to His mercy, He continually shows us grace, His undeserved and unmerited favor, by showering us with blessings that we do not deserve.
At the time, my father’s act of mercy (forgiving me) and grace (loving me despite my actions) actually made me feel guiltier than I already did. Years later, however, I sit here thinking about that morning and the only feeling I have held on to is my father’s unconditional love.
Our Heavenly Father does not want us to feel guilty about our mistakes and failings. He wants us to accept His mercy and His grace, remember His love for us, and move on.
When we mess up, which inevitably we all will, we need not sit in the corner, fearful and ashamed. Just as my earthly father knew that I was sorry for my mistake, God knows your heart.
Look to Him, and even on your darkest days, He will reach down; gently touch you and say, “Everything is okay. I love you.”