My boys, at some time in the scholastic career, have expressed daunting terror of something going on their permanent record.
They believed that this permanent record, in their minds, recorded every mistake – real or imagined – records beyond the ABCs of English, Math and History. . . and that it would negatively impact their future.
To my boys, the purvayors of this permanent record were as omniscient as God, judiciously intolerant and unforgiving resulting in a figuratively wielded stick of punishment that closed doors on opportunties for current peace and future success.
We were never able to totally coax them out of this belief. Today, with young elementary-aged school children being suspended for gun-shaped sandwiches, playing cops and robbers on the playgound – and wielding finger guns, kindergarteners stealing an innocent kiss – tolerance of mistakes has resulted in a system in American that doesn’t forget – or let the individual forget.
Computer systems, despite the IRS inability to keep employee records, support error intolerance. Computer programmers design programs to catch every error possible.
Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable, wrote to encourage social reform in a country grossly intolerant of the mistakes of its populace – from stealing a loaf of bread to having a child out of wed-lock. Charles Dicken’s novels encouraged much needed social reform, too.
America’s own novelists encouraged social reform.
America, France and Britain have indeed achieved much in the lat 200+ years.
Yet, today one hand preaches tolerance while the other hand wields intolerance – and in the mixed-message of it all, our country risks repeating history.
Ironically, the mythical “permanent record” of students today are becoming a reality. Kindergarten hijinks follow a student through all 12 years.
The records kept are surely as damning to the individual as Jean Valjean’s passport that labeled him a former convict. This passport was required to be shown at every city gate he entered. Though he had served the time(over 20 years) for the crime (stealing a loaf of bread), society begrudged offering the same grace for redemption that was offered to them when Christ became man and died for our sins.
During December, let us, you and I, press in close to the Christmas story.
Let the mercy, grace and forgiveness of it seep into your soul until the very marrow of it is flooded by his Holy Spirit, all the debris of your failures and sins washed away because the magnitude of its power – the very power that raised Jesus from the dead.
God didn’t send his son to save us because our permanent record was perfect. He sent his son because our humanity cannot achieve perfection without Him in us.
“He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins”(Psalm 103:10).
God gave Moses only 10 Commandments. The children of Israel had a tough time just following 10 Commandments. The U.S. Library of Congress can’t even answer how many laws America has.
Ron Paul said at least 40,000 new laws were added at the beginning of 2012.
Yes, our society is becoming increasingly intolerant of humanity’s failure when small things are treated as big crimes – and the permanent record-keeping of man-kind doesn’t want to forget – or forgive – which is at odds with the salvation heritage of our nation.
Christ came to redeem us – to deliver us from the bondage of sin – our own sin, our own mistakes and failures, our inability to live a perfect record.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2)
Christmas is a time to celebrate this priceless gift a loving Father God has given us.
God wants to remove our sins as far from us as the sunrise is to the sunset. He desires to remove that sin burden so we can rise with Him freed, able to soar. Only then can we live and become who he designed us to be.
“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1)
Do you get that?
Shaddai has redeemed you.
Yahweh has called you to Him by name.
“You are mine,” says the God who sees you – really, really sees you – the good, the bad, all of it. He has pursued you all of your life . . . . to give you this gift.
Gloria in excelsis Deo
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)
This Christmas season, live redeemed. Live forgiven.
Live the Merry Christmas gift He gave us over 2,000 years ago!