Luke 21:1-4; 1John 1:9; Romans 5:8, 4:1-25</em>”…this poor widow has put in more than all of them. Luke 21:3b; “How happy are those whose lawless acts are forgiven. How happy is the man whom the Lord will never charge with sin!” Romans 4:7&8
There was a time in my mid 20’s when my sin had brought me to squalor. My home was a rent house which had been built in the 1940’s and only partially refurbished. I was $3,000 in debt and in over my head in an abusive relationship. Due to a friend’s prompting, I began to attend a local church. I knew there was a God and that Jesus forgives sin. Soon I “accepted” Him as my Savior, but conveniently left out the Lord part. I still wanted my freedom. But I noticed that there was little change in my heart, spirit, or life.
One Sunday evening, as they passed around the offering plate, I realized that I had nothing to give. My live-in boyfriend and I were living off food from the local pantry, dumpster diving on weeknights, and selling our junk on the weekends. Basically, we were barely above starving. With the money we earned we would gorge ourselves at the local buffet and sometimes see a movie at neighborhood the discount theater. But I always made sure I tithed my 10%. Somehow, I still wanted to be obedient to God even though I had not surrendered my life to him completely.
This particular Sunday, I found myself staring, disheartened, at the offering plate, and suddenly realized that I DID have something to give. My rings. Among the few possessions I had left were a blue star sapphire ring my parents had given me on my 16th birthday and my class ring, both worth at least $200 each. I new the church was in financial trouble and needed the money, so I did what I felt was right. I gave what I had. I remembered the passage of the widow and her two mites and knew that God would somehow honor my sacrifice, for these were the only two important possessions I had left on this earth.
And honor it He did! Several months later, after I had been saved by faith and not by mere acceptance, and God had delivered me from the bondages of not only my sin but what my sin had brought me to. I received a letter from a dear friend from the church. Inside were both of my rings. In His infinate grace and mercy, God had shown His perfect picture of forgiveness by returning them to me. Words can never express the humility and gratitude I felt. I had been one who had professed to be His child and yet had single handedly dishonored His name. His unconditional forgiveness had literally changed me to my core.
When it was time to re-enter the world, I got a job and attempted to pay off my debts. I knew it might take years, but again, I wanted to honor God. That’s when I discovered that all my debts had been forgiven. To the world, those companies had simply chosen to write off my debts for tax purposes, but from a spiritual standpoint, God was showing me a perfect picture of His forgiveness. When we are truly saved and call Him Lord and not just Savior, ALL of our sins are COMPLETELY forgiven. Psalms 103 verse 12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, that is how far the Father has removed our transgressions from us.” Paraphrased. God remembers them no more.
My life was now a clean slate, new and reborn. I had no idea what blessings and challenges lay before me. It has been a rough but blessed road, and I’m still running it. What about you? Have you begun yours?
Father, what the world has today in the name of Christianity is nothing more than counterfeit; poison for our souls wrapped in a pretty package. Please give us wisdom and discernment to see Your truth, and regularly honor you with our tithes when we do. God, help us to see that we can be truly and completely forgiven of our sins, and that Satan no longer has anything to hold against us. Let us strive every day to be more like You and strengthen us to be soldiers in Your army, Almighty God!