One aspect of the Christian life with which I struggle much is the understanding of God's mercy. And it's not usually a matter of intellectual understanding. I understand theologically how God's mercy is exemplified in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins. And now Christ serves as mediator for, among other things, the forgiveness of repentant sinners, myself being one.
Much of my misunderstanding is practical inability to forgive myself or understand why God should or would forgive me. Yes, I understand that God can forgive anything. And I understand that if I don't forgive myself I put my own judgment above His own. But, what is it exactly to be infinitely forgiving? How can that work? I had an interesting dream the other night that spoke to this. This dream is what inspired me to write the blog entry.
In this dream (highly meaningful despite the silliness of where it took place: a grocery store), I was to be put to death by hanging for something I had done. I felt the guilt in my dream, so I knew my death was justified. However, the executioner did not want to execute me. He had no desire in his kindness to see me die. However, instead of letting me off, he still had me hung. When I was dropped from the platform, I landed harmlessly to the floor stunned that I was not dead. I turned and saw the amount of rope. It was infinitely long. I saw no end to the amount of rope. The executioner gave me my punishment, but I was forgiven and was not hanged again.
When, I woke up, I realized that through one means or other-whether dreams have meaning or God gave me a revelation by considering the dream--God helped me to realize His infinite mercy. It's not that our actions do not have consequences, but that He always forgives us. He will not condemn us even by His own rope. If we are to die by being hanged, it will be by our own. If I had been condemned by my own rope, if I had been my own executioner, I would have perished in my dream, justly executed for my crime whatever it may have been. But, with God's infinite rope, given to us through Christ, we are not condemned, but always forgiven.