“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:10-14).
This passage hit me like a ton of bricks the other day.
I had been a little grumpy, moody, or whatever… and I was taking it out on my poor wife. Not being mean…. just showing my frustration about different things. Then I read this Psalm. Had read it countless times before. Was always glad that the Father has so much compassion for His children. In fact, that’s probably why I was reading it in the first place! But, this time as I was reading it, it dawned on me to ask myself the question, “Do I treat others this way? Do I treat Hope or my kids this way??” Sadly, I realized that I hadn’t done a great job recently with showing grace.
It’s easy for us to want or expect grace. Much harder to give it, isn’t it? I mean, we just want people to do right, correct? “If you’d stop messing up, I wouldn’t have to show grace!” Lol… we don’t say it, but we all know we think it from time to time! Thing is, though… God doesn’t deal with us that way. The Bible says that God doesn’t deal with us according to our sins. Wow, that’s some awesome stuff right there! That’s not what we would expect; we would expect God to judge us according to our sins. Give us what we deserve. Throw the book at us. Lock us up for awhile. Because that’s how we deal with people: we get angry or frustrated, and we lash out; we give them the silent treatment; we act spitefully, and “pay people back” anyway we can.
But God doesn’t… and that’s the point.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? WHO DOES THAT???
God does. And that’s the point.
So, go back and read that again.
He doesn’t give us what we deserve…
And His love for us is so steadfast that when He forgives us, it’s forever!
But, having been shown such mercy… such compassion… such steadfast love… why do we treat people the exact opposite? Why do we ALWAYS feel it’s our right to be angry, to show our frustration, to lash out when we’re offended?
Part of what it means to follow Jesus is to love the way He loves and forgive the way He forgives… to not deal with people according to their wrongdoings, but to forgive unconditionally.
Oh, what a difference this would make in our relationships…if people didn’t always feel like if they mess up, it’s over… or they’ll be shunned… or they will be yelled at… or worse! What if we made it our aim to treat people.. every day… the way God treats people… the way God treats us… every day?
I’ll be honest… I’m a work in progress with this. But I want to change. I want to treat people the way I know God treats me. I really want to be like Jesus… all the time. It’s important to me. And how I treat others is of the utmost importance to Him.
What is known as The Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-31) sums it up, really: Love God… love people…
…and do both passionately.
Let’s be intentional with showing people grace, even when they don’t deserve it… especially because they don’t deserve.
That’s what God has done for us. “But God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).