Hello everyone. 🙂
Today I am bringing the series “Jesus: Who He Is and How to Know Him” to a close.
I would like to share, through a personal illustration, both what it is like to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord and how to do so.
While visiting some people that I loved, I had allowed self to rise up and had said something hurtful about one of them to others. I never dreamed before that I would do this. I thought I loved them immensely, and while this was true, I discovered that I loved myself even more.
Sin is blinding. For a while after I had spoken these hurtful words, I felt no remorse. Sin is self centered.
Then, the Holy Spirit brought conviction to me the next morning-strongly. I felt convicted to confess what I had done. I sent out a text. I knew I would soon be seeing the person I had hurt again, and I had a most terrible feeling as I anticipated this meeting.
Then it happened…and the sorrow on her face pierced my heart. What a dreadful, terrible feeling! And yet, the change that God was working on my heart was amazing…my thoughts of sadness were not for myself, but for her,
The lady asked me to make right what I had said to people I had spoken the misrepresenting and hurtful comments to. I was fully and completely willing to do so. My foremost desire was to do anything I needed to do in order to bring about reconciliation between myself and the one whom I had hurt.
I made the phone call and confessed the wrong words I had shared. Then I had to walk down the road and confess to some other people. I was ready to go. I began to walk down the road. Tears were streaming down my face as I walked. People may have seen me through their windows, but I had no thoughts about what others were thinking of me.
I made it to the house and rang the door bell. I was let in. I sat in the living room and mournfully made my confession. The man’s eyes opened wide and the woman thought I was over stressing myself. But I was not craving the kind of comfort that comes from hearing that you aren’t so bad after all. I knew that I was very bad. I just wanted to make things right.
I came back to the one I had wounded. Tears were still streaming down my face. Then an amazing thing happened. The one whom I had offended began to encourage and comfort me. I didn’t deserve to be comforted. I was willing to be rejected. I felt that I deserved to be rejected. I had told her so. But, she didn’t reject me. She encouraged and comforted me.
The next day, I was going to visit a mutual friend. The one whom I had wounded warned me not to make the same mistake I had made again. She prayed a very earnest and serious prayer with me. I appreciated it. I needed it. I had no desire to repeat the same sin that I had committed again. My heart bled for the one whom I had hurt, it swelled with relief at the undeserved forgiveness that I had received and it loathed the thought of hurting her again.
I went to visit the mutual friend and was very careful. I allowed God to keep my tongue under His control and I was able to give an honest and positive report about the visit to the one whom I had wounded.
Even though I had done everything I could think of to rectify the wrong, a sting remained in both my heart and in the heart of the one whom I had hurt. Sin hurts and sins leaves wounds. There was nothing else I could do though. Even before I had hurt this loved person in my life, I had already written a letter to my pastor and some others, inquiring about whether it would be advisable for me to be re-baptized. There had been some sins in my life which I felt were very significant, and besides this, I had not understood what Jesus’ death on the cross really meant when I was baptized the first time. My sins had already been stinging and oppressing me and I wanted to have a new start. I also wanted to publicly begin a new life with Jesus, having come to understand more fully what His death on the cross meant. Now, after hurting someone like I had, I was 100% committed to be re-baptized. I had told the one whom I had hurt about my decision.
Note: I don’t believe that we need to be re-baptized after every sin we commit. If I believed this, I would have been re-baptized countless times. I was rebaptized because of sins in my life which I felt were pretty significant ones, and also because I did not really understand, on a personal level, what Jesus’ death on the cross was all about when I was first baptized, but I had since come to a much fuller ( am I am sure that I still have more to learn) understanding of what it is all about.
I returned to my home and was re-baptized a while later. During this service, I felt the same way I had felt while walking down the street to confess to others what I had done. There was an audience of course, and they were looking at me, but I had no desire to shield myself. I allowed the tears to stream down my face. I was so touched and I felt like a weight was rolling off of me. Sin is weighty. It is the absolute worst thing I have ever felt. When I came up from the baptismal waters, I sang along with the audience:
“My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” – Horatio Spafford
I had longed to sing this song before, and now I could sing it honestly. I do not regret being re-baptized. Being re-baptized was one of the very best decisions I have made.
The next day, I saw my loved one in person for the first time since the painful episode we had experienced together. We were both attending a gathering and as I walked into the building, insecure feelings once again rose up. How would she react to me? Then I saw something that warmed my heart. I walked down the aisle, looking for a seat, and as I did so, I saw her. She saw me too and broke out into a beautiful smile. I will never forget that smile. It assured me of her forgiveness and showed me that we had both indeed moved on.
Just as I had hurt my loved one, we have all hurt Jesus-and we have hurt Him badly…so badly that He went to a cross and died a cruel, unjust death in order to pay the penalty for our sins.
When we really understand this, we will grieve…not so much for ourselves as for Him. He was innocent. He had done only good for us-no wrong. He was perfect. We caused Him to suffer and die. When I think about this, about what I have done to Him, it grieves me.
And amazingly, He has forgiven us, and not only forgiven us, but He is extending the offer of eternal life to us. Why???!! We don’t deserve it! Even so, He wants us to accept His blood bought offer of salvation. If we don’t accept it, He will experience a terrible feeling of rejection. He will be hurt by our profound rejection and ingratitude towards Him. He longs for us to say; “Yes. I accept Your forgiveness and I am ready to move on in a new life with You”. And…one day-and I believe it won’t be too long from now, those who have accepted His offer will see Him coming in the clouds of glory to take us to heaven to live with Him.
Don’t you look forward to seeing His eyes lock with yours’ and His face break into a beautiful smile? I do. This will be the icing on the cake..the supreme evidence that backs up what we have already believed by faith: that He has forgiven us and that we have all indeed moved on. Let us not miss out on experiencing this glorious day and the glorious forever that will follow is my prayer.
If any of you haven’t already accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and would like to do so, I welcome you to do so.
“I invite you to just come to Jesus just as you are. You may feel scared and ashamed, but His arms are open to you. He will not refuse you if you come. He promises not to cast you out if you come (John 6:37). He promises to give you rest if you will come (Matthew 11:28-30). He promises to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
If you don’t know how to pray, that is okay. Here is a sample prayer that you can use, but it is okay and right for you to talk to Jesus as you would respectfully talk to a close friend.
I want to know You. I know that I am a sinner and I ask Your forgiveness for my sins. Please give me a new heart and help me to be like You. Please help me to know You.
In Jesus Name Amen
I promise you that Jesus will hear your prayer, and that He will help you.
God says that He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3). He says that He wants to save us and that He can save us (John 3:16). He says that He has created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). He says that even when we have messed up, He still wants to sanctify Himself before those who have seen our messes, by living out His holy life through us. This will happen as He changes our hearts (Ezekiel 36: 23-27). God says that there will be people from every people group in heaven (Revelation 5:9-10). I welcome all of us who have accepted Jesus to hold our heads high in humble humility. We have the privilege of believing what God says about us… and ultimately…. what He says about us is what really matters. (copied, pasted and slightly adapted from this post)”.
Blessings and courage. 🙂
Photo credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/jesus-reaching-out-gm182707450-12497376