Forgiveness like sanctifying rain


Jim Honeycutt

Chaplain-Baptist Minister

One cold evening, late in December, under the glow of a warm fireplace, I lingered with my father after everyone else had gone to bed. The clock approached midnight as we were winding down our conversations after a long day of visiting.

So many thoughts had been shared between us during the day, but these moments together alone most often brought forth the deepest of reflection. My new bride, Melissa, and I had come to my parents’ home in celebration of the approaching holiday. And seizing the opportunity to journey with my father through the memories of our lives, gleaning insight into the depth of our relationship, I pressed in asking my dad about regrets.

“They are something we all have son,” I can still hear him say, “but what we decide to do with them is the key.” Then he paused looking me in the eye and said, “But, you’re not really asking about my regrets, are you son?”

My emotion, which was right under the surface, began to bubble forth. Throughout the day as we had journeyed together in conversation, I had been wrestling with things I felt I really needed to tell him. Things that I had done as a teenager, things that I knew were wrong, things that I regretted deeply, things I feared would tear apart our relationship.

Choking back the rawness of what I was feeling, I was reluctant to say the whole of it. Without pressure, my father reassured me of his care, that I always had his ear, that love overcomes our deepest regrets even when we can’t see the way forward.

Standing there before him that evening I confessed to my father the sin I had committed against him while I was a teenager. A sin I had buried, reasoning that he didn’t know about, so why discuss it? But as I had matured in my relationship with Jesus, I realized that even if my father didn’t know, it was still a chain around my emotional neck. A chain, that unless I broke free of, would keep me from true peace with this man I loved so much.

So as the tears rolled down my face, I wholly confessed my transgressions against him, begging him for forgiveness. Without hesitation, standing up from his chair, not saying a word he came to me. Standing under the warming glow of the fireplace he faced me. Standing close as I wept, he held me. Wrapping his big arms around me, I melted into them like a young child.

And as his emotion flowed down upon my head, he spoke these words, “I forgive you son.” His merciful tears like sanctifying rain fell upon me as he pulled me close to his breast. The manifestation of his loving grace released to me by the confession of my need. As we stood there in loving embrace, I came to understand the depth of my father’s care.

Later, he would tell me that he had known fully about my transgressions at the time, choosing to forgive me when they happened. Yet, keeping it to himself until I would come to him, knowing as I grew and matured that the opportunity would be presented. So, even though my father had forgiven me years earlier, I didn’t experience the freedom, the full manifestation of his forgiveness until my confession. It was then that the chains of transgression were removed from my mind, allowing me to embrace the fullness of my father’s love. A love that strengthens my resolve to be a man as he was, a man of compassion and mercy. A man who seeks the truth of Jesus. A man who lays his regrets at the feet of his Savior. A journey I am still on…

Walking the paths of our lives we have opportunities to grow beyond our moral setbacks. The mistakes and errors we make, whether intentional or accidental are not the things that define us. What defines us is what we do with them. Regret will hang on you like a chain around your neck. I know it is popular to say or even think you have no regrets, but that is a fallacy. Whether it is now or later, regret visits us all. And denying it is like saying the light of the sun shines only on others.

Our Heavenly Father sees our mistakes, He sees our failures, He sees our transgressions against Him, yet because of who He is, He has chosen to forgive us. He has chosen to show His love and mercy to us by providing the way to overcome our mistakes, our failures, our transgressions. His forgiveness sets us free to experience the fullness of His love and grace, replacing our regrets with peace. It is our confession of our need before Him that releases the manifestation of His forgiveness. The hope so many long for, the peace so many desire, the love our souls search for, are found in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of Grace.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins, purifying us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


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