When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
Remember the Relationship
The old story goes something like this. A little boy named Henry and a little girl named Margaret are spending a few days with their grandmother on her farm. Henry is outside, alone, playing with a new slingshot. He sees his grandmother’s pet duck. On a lark he points the slingshot at the duck and fires. To the boy’s horror, the duck falls over dead. Now in a panic, Henry hides the duck in the woodpile. But then his sister, Margaret, comes up to him and says, “I saw what you did.” The next morning, Margaret announces to her grandmother that, for some reason, Henry wants to do her chores as well as his own. When Henry begins to protest, Margaret quickly whispers to him, “Remember. I saw what you did.”
Finally, after several days of this, Henry can no longer stand it. In tears, he runs to his grandmother and confesses everything. Immediately the grandmother embraces the boy and says, “Oh, Henry. Don’t be afraid. I’ve already forgiven you. I was standing at the kitchen window when it all happened.” It doesn’t take long for Henry’s tears of shame to turn into tears of relief and joy. And then he asks the question: “Grandma, why didn’t you tell me you saw everything?” To that the grandmother replies, “Well, Henry, I just had to find out how long you were going to let your sister enslave you.”
One of the oldest tricks in Satan’s playbook is to get us to forget the kind of relationship we have with God through faith in Jesus. He does this by haunting us about our past failures, piling on the regret, piling on the guilt. In time we can begin to distance ourselves from God, afraid to open up to him and afraid to admit to ourselves what a broken, sinful mess we really are.
But the Lord wants us to remember something. He wants us to remember that his entire relationship with us is a relationship of mercy—his merciful love for us in Jesus Christ. As soon as we remember this, then we can also remember that Satan has nothing with which to haunt us or to make us feel afraid. Satan has no answer for God’s mercy. None.
And for that we can all say, “Praise God.”
Heavenly Father, when Satan comes to haunt me about my past, move me to remember that your relationship with me is pure love and mercy through faith in your Son. Remind me of this every day. Amen.