Jacob, my son asked me this question one evening recently before bed. As you all know he has been probing my mind for the answers to many questions about God, Jesus, creation and the Cross. The conversations generally follow a pattern, for example;
Jacob; "Mum?, mum?, mum?(and so it continues until I give a verbal response).
Mum; "Yes, Jacob?"
Jacob; "Muuuuummmm, why does God love us?"
Mum; "Because he made us". (Try to keep it simple!).
Jacob; "Did God make my light switch?"
Mum; "No, but God made people, so a man or woman made your light switch".
Jacob; "Mum, why does God love us when we are good and bad?", followed by
"why does God forgive us?".
The above is the question I have been thinking about over the last few days. Is it only me that finds this a hard topic to explain to my child?
When I discuss this subject with Jacob I explain that God doesn't like our sinful behaviour and that he loves you, Jacob, or me Mum, but it makes him sad when we do bad things, sinful things. We then need to ask for forgiveness of the bad things we have done. This usually leads on to questions about Jesus, the Cross and the Resurrection.
I try to demonstrate the concept of forgiveness practically at home. When Jacob has done something he shouldn't, then I discipline him for this and ensure he apologises for his behaviour. I then explain how I accept his apology and forgive him for his bad behaviour, usually followed by a massive hug. I explain that this is similar to how God forgives us.
When I think about forgiveness on a personal level I am astounded by why I, Collette Howie am forgiven. I don't believe I deserve it and yet God wants me to have his forgiveness through Jesus. I cannot begin to imagine the suffering endured by Christ on the Cross all for us!!
Isaiah 53 gives us a glimpse of what this must have been like but we will never know fully. (I have linked this chapter rather than including the scripture here due to length).
"10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him..." (Psalm 103, v 10-13, NIV).
When I read these verses a few weeks ago I had been having a difficult time trying to get Emma, my daughter to bed. Most nights tend to be hard as she is a terrible sleeper but this night was particularly trying. I was quite angry, actually my blood was beginning to boil, so I walked away to my bedroom and opened Colin's bible. The above verses literally jumped out at me! I am learning more each day about our Lord because of my children. Through my forgiveness of their negative behaviour I am learning how merciful our God is to us and the compassion He has for us is like we have for our children.
"9Who can say, 'I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin'?" (Proverbs, 20 v 9, NIV).
The only person who can claim this is Jesus Christ our Lord. Each and everyone of us has a sinful nature. If we are believers then the following verses are noteworthy;
"11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." (Romans 6, v 11-14, NIV).
I hope that I can continue to lead Jacob and Emma by example and practical applications of God's word in our daily family life.
Love Collette xxx