via MEMELk 15:1-10; Ex 32:7-14; 1 Tim 1:12-17
Our readings today give us a rather unusual focus: what God ‘feels’ about the sinner,
in particular, the JOY He feels about the sinner who turns back.
This joy in Him, should also be in us -but is it?
First, let’s consider how we look at ourselves and look at our sins.
In his regard, people vary.
Some people, think nothing of their sins. They might leave an endless trail of hurt and neglect and damage behind them, but they somehow think nothing of it.
They are blind to their sins.
They look at their sins and see nothing.
They look at themselves and feel fine.
Others, in contrast, carry the guilt of their sins like a weight on their shoulders, a gloom of depression that leaves them ever aware of their failures.
They look at their sins and see a load that cannot be lifted.
They look at themselves and feel sadness.
Most of us, drift in between, a bit of one extreme a bit of the other.
Most of us, also, have sins we have become too familiar with, too regular in, things we say, “That’s just the way I am”, or, “It can’t really be that important.
We look at ourselves and don’t really see the truth.
How, in contrast, does God view us?
He never sees a weight that cannot be lifted.
Scripture, and this is by God’s design and not by chance, Scripture gives us many examples of big, horrible sinners, who nonetheless changed and became God’s favourites.
There was King David, the adulterer and murderer, who killed Bathsheba’s husband.
There was Peter, who denied the Lord Jesus three times.
There was Paul, who persecuted Christians and killed them.
And there was the Old Testament people as a whole, who, as we heard in our first reading, forgot the true God and worshiped a golden calf.
How did God look at them?
He saw not just what they were, but what they had the potential to become.
And He rejoiced each time one of them turned, and turned again, and began to realise that potential, the potential to be a saint not a sinner.
David became humble in his sins, and died a wise king.
Peter, came back to the Lord, was restored and made the first pope.
Paul, became the great missionary who travelled the known world telling people of the Lord Jesus.
And the Old Testament people as a whole, they became His own, chosen and purified, and given the Promised Land.
I saw a meme recently (here) about a potato and it made a pivotal point about all this:
If man can take a worthless unexciting potato and make it into something as desirable as vodka,
then God, if you will let Him, can make you into a saint .
Yes, I am a sinner,
Yes, you are a sinner.
But what CAN we be?
What is the potential that God’s loving eyes see in each of us?
He sees the vodka, not the potato.
And He rejoices each time we repent, come back to confession, and start afresh in following Him.