I just finished reading one of my favorite books to my family. One reason I like Anne of Green Gables so much is because it is a story of hope.
An orphan girl receives a family.
A girl who previously relied on her own performance receives complete acceptance in spite of her faults.
A loner receives friends.
And, of course, a girl who makes mistake after mistake turns out to be a joy to all who know her.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Anne is an orphan girl mistakenly brought to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister who wanted a boy to help with their farm. They decide – Marilla, rather reluctantly – to keep her. Anne proceeds to call a guest fat and clumsy, crack a slate over a boy’s head, criticize the minister, get the neighbors’ daughter drunk, serve guests a cake made with liniment, fall off a ridgepole, and almost drown in the lake, among other mishaps.
Sometimes I feel like Anne, only my mistakes aren’t nearly as entertaining. They’re often of the sinful variety, sometimes intentional, and tend to leave other people hurt. Unlike Anne, I’ve also been known to make the same mistake twice. Or two or three hundred times. And I have to wonder with Marilla Cuthbert whether I’ll ever be sensible.
That’s why I’m so thankful for the God I serve.
He’s not a harsh taskmaster.
He hasn’t given up hope.
He’s not sending me back to the orphanage.
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
for he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.”
Micah 7:18-19, ESV
Did you catch that? All our sins. Every. single. one. The “big” ones, the “little” ones, even the ones it seems we’ll never overcome. He’ll cast them all into the depths of the sea.
There’s more here than our sins being far away. In Bible times, the sea was an image of judgment. It’s similar to the image of him “tread[ing] our iniquities underfoot” or trampling them. God didn’t just throw out our sins. He judged them.
But He didn’t judge us.
He put our mistakes, our sins, on Jesus. And then He judged Him in our place. (see Isaiah 53 for the full picture).
There’s no danger of our failings swimming back up from the ocean floor and separating us from God’s complete acceptance and approval. They’ve already been judged. They’ve already been drowned in the cup of His wrath. And we didn’t have to drink it.
Like Anne’s, ours is a story of hope. We’ll turn out okay after all.
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