Grace: The Forgotten Truth We Must Return To

I was recently asked this question: “How in the world can you forgive someone who has wronged you so deeply and cruelly? How can you have any care or love for them after what they did to you?” Well that is indeed a good question and, as always, the answer lies in God’s amazing word. If there is anything that has come to my mind given the current political climate we seem to find ourselves in, it is that we are all truly broken and imperfect people. We have all fallen short in some way and have made some awful decisions and mistakes in our lives. In God’s word it says it like this: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) I also believe that if every intimate detail of our lives were to be revealed, it would destroy every single one of us. But do you know what is even more amazing? GOD ALREADY KNOWS EVERY INTIMATE DETAIL…AND HE STILL LOVES US AND SENT HIS SON TO DIE FOR US. How in the world can a holy and righteous God do that? He knew our sin and our darkest deeds we would commit before we were ever born…and that brings me to one of the most amazing stories from God’s word about Jesus. Do you remember the woman who was caught in adultery? The story is in John chapter 8 if you are not familiar with it. Basically there was a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. She was apprehended and brought to Jesus. Jewish law was clear: she was to be stoned, and I am sure that was the plan. However they thought that they could also use this opportunity to cast Jesus in a bad light, which they were desperate to do so they threw her down at the feet of Jesus and explained the situation. At first Jesus ignored them by stooping down and writing in the dirt as though they weren’t even there. After pressing Him for an answer He stood up and uttered those well known words “He that is without sin let him cast the first stone.” The bible says that they began to leave beginning with eldest then down to the youngest. Jesus was left alone with her in front of the crowd who had gathered to hear Him teach. She expected death at any moment. Finally she looked up and the only person standing there next to her was Jesus. She looked up at Him and He said to her “Woman, where are those that accuse you? Does no man condemn you?” She answered “No man Lord.” He said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Now there is something amazing that happened here. She was GUILTY. Jesus knew that, and what’s more is He also knew that His Father was getting ready to take her sin of adultery and put it upon Him when He was going to be on the cross. He KNEW that and still stood there and refused to condemn her and see her pay the price that she deserved. The reason could not be more clear. He was not excusing her sin. In fact He told her to go and not do that or any other sin anymore. But the reason He did not condemn her was not because she wasn’t guilty, but because He was getting ready to be condemned in her place. The price for her sin still needed to be paid, but He was going to pay it for her. Based on that He was able to offer her what no one else could: forgiveness of her sins. Did she deserve it? No! Again she was guilty. But Jesus bore her and indeed all of our punishment when He hung on that cross. He now turns to us and offers that same forgiveness. We don’t deserve it any more than she did. But that is the nature of God’s truly amazing grace. I don’t know about you, but I have done some pretty bad things in my life. I often feel that I do not deserve anything from God, especially His forgiveness. Nonetheless He loves me enough that He knew all that I would do and still offers it to me. What an amazing God and Father He is. One other thing Jesus said that we so desperately need to remember. He was accused of spending time with “tax collectors and sinners” in Matthew chapter 9, which He was doing. When He knew they were asking His disciples why He would stoop so low as to hang out with those miserable rotten sinners, He said some amazing things. “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I DESIRE MERCY and not sacrifice” (capitals mine). There are so many people who are totally devoid of any kind of mercy today, and yet God’s mercy was shown to us even when we absolutely did not deserve it. God’s mercy and grace go hand in hand. So there it is. God desires that we have mercy on those who have hurt or wronged us, just as He has had mercy on us because with our sin we have hurt and wronged Him too…and this is yet another aspect of God’s amazing grace. We cannot forgive and love after being wronged on our own. We also need God’s grace for that too. So don’t even try to do it alone. If you do you will fail every time. Rather simply go to the One whose grace is so great and freely offered and ask Him to fill you with it. I assure you that if you do that, He will.

The Next Step is Here!

Rocsana with Stan, Denise and Nick

Jeff McClaran and I depart for Guatemala on Monday, October 15th. We will be providing regular updates as we go. We have several objectives that we hope to accomplish while we are there and ask for fervent prayer as we go that God will prepare the way, open the doors, and connect us with the people who will be able to help us take these next steps. While there we hope to:

1. We are setting up meetings with orphanages, local ministries, and other missionaries to begin networking with them and share the vision of Rocsana’s Hope. Pray that God will bring us to the right people who will be able to work with us and that we will be able to help through our ministry.

2. This is a big one. We are going to dedicate much time to looking for our ministry headquarters. In order to find what we are looking for, we will need to connect with local people who know the area and can show us what is available. In general they do not have rental listings like they do in the United States. We will have to find people that know the area and can show us places that are available but are not listed in any way. Pray that God will direct us to the right people who will be able to show us the place we are looking for.

3. Also pray for the exact place. We are honestly not sure what will be best for our needs, whether it be a single large home, a complex with several houses on it, or separate homes and buildings in proximity to each other. We are going to see what is available and trust God to show us the one we need the most. We are truly going in faith on this and believe God will direct us to the right location and place.

4. Pray also for God’s provision should we find the right house or complex. If it is possible, I am hoping to put a deposit down on a place if we find the right one. I have no idea how much that will be but I am asking that God will provide whatever is needed to secure the right place when we find it. Pray that God will provide the necessary funds and make those available when the time comes.

5. We are going to be visiting churches as well and looking for those who we can partner with and work together with in our community. Pray that God will lead us to the right churches and that we will meet local pastors and congregations who can help us and we can help them.