HOW MUCH DO I LOVE YOU? Let us count the ways! By: Liz Nieves—Issue #2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine this: You find yourself walking into a courtroom. The turmoil within you is making your stomach queasy; you’re hoping to make it through. You can’t believe the trouble your child is in. What would cause him to act this way? You gave him life, you loved him, you clothed him, you fed him, and his future was bright. Your thoughts are racing, how did my child wind up on trial for his life? Where did I go wrong? The banging of the gavel snaps you out of your trance, as the judge takes the bench and says, “Come to order.” You can hear a pin drop. The day of sentencing has arrived! “Please stand to receive your sentence,” the judge says sternly. Then he quickly says the words you were afraid to hear: “It is the order of this court that you will be sentenced to death for the crimes you have committed.” You look at your child as he falls to his seat crying, looking at you with eyes full of shame, eyes full of repentance, wishing he could take it all back, wishing he had another chance. Your love for him has never been greater than this very moment and you just wish he could get that chance. With your heart about to burst, your legs shaking, you decide to take a chance. “Your Honor,” you hear yourself say with more courage than you feel, “Please have mercy on my son! Give him another chance.” There’s a loud gasp of unbelief from the audience in the courtroom as they look to see what the judge will do next. You hold on to the chair in front of you praying for courage. “Ma’am, he has to pay for his crimes! These crimes cannot go unpunished! Someone has to answer for them!” “Your honor please let me take his place! I have lived my life; he has a long life to live. I know that he has repented, give him a chance to turn his life around.” The judge looks at me with confusion in his eyes, unbelief in his voice, “Are you saying you want to die in his place when you have done no wrong? He deserves to die for his crime.” “Yes, your honor, I want to take his guilt and shame.” “Very well, then. Bailiff, take this mother into custody. I release her son, declare him innocent and all record of wrongdoing will be expunged from all documents, files, computers. It will be as if he never committed any crime.” You turn to your son as the bailiff leads you away in handcuffs to meet your fate and with your face drenched in tears, you whisper, “I love you.”
Can you imagine that scenario? Can you imagine taking the place of the deservedly guilty, even if it was your own child? Do we really love THAT MUCH? Maybe, maybe not, BUT Jesus does! He took our guilt, he took our shame because he loves us THAT MUCH! We were on our way to eternal death, but now we have eternal life! When you look at your past, at your sins do you look upon it with shame and guilt? Then you truly have not understood His sacrifice, His forgiveness and His declaration of love on the cross. Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins NO MORE.” When we look at our past, it should not be with shame, but with a grateful heart, a heart full of amazement, a heart full of praise and RELIEF! We need to stop focusing on how bad we were and focus on how good He is. Look at this passage in Zechariah 3:1-4 “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you… 3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Jesus rebuked Satan’s accusations against us! He took off our filthy clothes of sin, guilt, shame and clothed us in righteousness. Halleluyah!! Isaiah 61:10: I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Rejoice in His loving forgiveness TODAY! Do not waste another moment agonizing over the guilt and shame He took from you!