It’s funny how six little words on a computer screen can have such a profound impact on a person’s state of mind. At first glance, these six little words seem innocent enough, but then when human understanding kicks in, we realize that this short sentence could potentially cause serious emotional and mental strain. Yes, just six simple little words can bring instant doom and gloom……… ”Warning: Your memory capacity is full”.
When I saw these words pop up and the initial shock and horror wore off, I knew the end result was imminent ……. permanent file deletion.
Recently after seeing that message on my computer screen, I reluctantly, and time consumingly, marked those files for deletion which I thought I could live without. Putting all fears aside and breathing in a deep breath, I finally pressed the delete button. Instantly, I began to see the titles of all my selected documents flashing across the screen, then whisked away into the eternal trash bin, never to be seen again.
But something happened that I wasn’t expecting. As I watched each title appear on the screen for just a split second, each one conjured up a small memory deep in the back of my mind – of what that document was about; what I was doing the day that I created it; situations I was dealing with at the time; bible studies I was participating in; and so on.
Every title of a document signified an experience, whether big, small, important, or insignificant and each one held a memory. Upon catching these tiny glimpse of each document title before it disappeared, I found myself wishing I had delete button in my life sometimes. For example: Poor choices as an adolescent – DELETE. Mistakes I had made – DELETE. Damaged relationship – DELETE. Poor parenting decision – DELETE. Losing my temper – DELETE. Acts of selfishness – DELETE. Lack of patience – DELETE. Harsh words spoken that I’d like to take back – DELETE.
As I pondered this idea, the Holy Spirit gently spoke to my heart, and then He impressed these words to my spirit: “Tracie, my child, you do have a delete button – it’s called forgiveness”.
Romans 3:25 says “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.—“ At Christmas, we celebrate that sacrifice, born a cold winter night over 2000 years ago, in a stable, to a virgin, surrounded by animals and the smell of fresh hay – the night when the ultimate delete button was birthed, named Jesus.
Although God sent His son for us, and was pleased with this gift to mankind, it also must have broken His heart simultaneously and became a day filled with mixed emotions. Imagine God peering down from heaven, as if He were looking through the nursery window in the hospital, seeing His tiny precious, perfect little baby boy, with ten fingers and toes, fresh pink skin, lying sweetly in the manger, and all the while, knowing that in a short 33 years, He would have to offer Him up as the ultimate sacrifice.
Even as baby Jesus lie in the manger, God knew the eventual crucifixion would be the deletion of Jesus in the flesh, so that we could have our sins forgiven – thus deleted- for eternity.
Once we repent our sins to the Father Almighty, those sins are not only forgiven – they experience permanent deletion. Psalm 130:3 says “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” Just as we could not accurately recall all the words in a document once it has been deleted, neither does God remember our sins after they are erased by His grace and forgiveness.
Next week, many of us will enjoy opening a few gifts from under the tree. Might I encourage you to rip open the precious gift of forgiveness, especially if you’ve left it unwrapped for far too long? Accept God’s gift of forgiveness for your mistakes and mess-ups, and give the gift of forgiveness to yourself as well. God doesn’t hold grudges against us, so we shouldn’t hold them against ourselves either. And when we do, we are in essence refusing to open the gift that Jesus paid had a price for.
Forgiveness is the most important gift we can unwrap this year, because it frees our hearts to love God, love others, and love ourselves.
And love is exactly what this season is all about.