Thursday, July 1, 2010

Forgiveness: A Short Story

ForgivenessFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore



“Come on, Celeste, we’re gonna be late,” the always impatient Lilly cried, already half-way out the front door. “Lilly, just go on without me. I, uh, just don’t feel like going to the movies today,” Celeste called from where she stood on the stairs. “Hey, what? I came to get you. And Eric Chambers is gonna be there! Yes, the Eric Chambers. I mean, you even went out with him – more than once I might add! That’s probably the reason he’s coming along…in hopes of seeing you! Everyone knows he likes you,” Lilly teased. Celeste’s knuckles turned white as she tightened her grip on the banister. Yes, everyone had heard that little rumor fly around Shady Oaks High, but only Celeste really knew… “I’m sorry, Lilly… I’m getting a bad headache.” Lilly glanced at her watch & then uncertainly at her friend, with a final shrug of her shoulders she turned & left. Celeste waited until she heard the car start & zoom off before she dared move. Walking back up the stairs, as if in a daze, she headed to her bedroom. As soon as she heard the door click shut, held back tears rolled down her face & she fell to her knees, with her hand clamped painfully tight over her mouth to stifle her cries.

There is a reason for all of God’s rules, precepts, commandments, & guidelines. They all hold a special purpose or purposes. Trusting in God’s rules is the best thing to do, that’s why He put them into place & took the trouble to warn us about them in His holy Word, the Bible…not to mention the fact that He loves us & doesn’t want sin to separate us from Him. Some rules are easier to understand than others. “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) - we get that pretty plain; if it’s not yours don’t take it, cause you wouldn’t want someone to take something of yours. Others such as “Honor your father & mother” (Exodus 20:12) are pretty simple, too most of the time. It’s the hard ones that just get us hung up, scratching our heads, & asking, “Really, God? You really want me to do that?!” I can think of quite a few: “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) & “Don’t worry [about stuff=]” (Matthew 6:25) are just a couple that come to mind. What about this one; does this one cause you trouble? Save sexual intimacy for marriage & keep yourself pure.

“For this reason a man will leave his father & mother & be united to his wife, & they will become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

“Marriage should be honored by all, & the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer & all the sexually immoral.” – Hebrew 13:4

“Flee from sexual sin. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Weeks earlier, when Eric had asked Celeste for a date she had accepted with an inner bubbling excitement. “Eric is cute & popular...& he’s somehow interested in me?!” She had to admit she had a major crush on the cool & calm appearing guy (along with countless other girls at Shady Oaks). Celeste recalled how she had painstakingly chosen the perfect outfit – something both modest & cute. She had taken forever to get ready for her big date. From Eric slipping his arm around her at the movies to sharing a box of M&Ms…the date had gone by dreamily to Celeste. Soon more dates followed & this new feeling of romance took Celeste by surprise. She went about her days with a secret smile & a nervous flutter in her stomach. At night she would lay awake unable to sleep for hours consumed with thoughts of Eric & their future together. But, with each date came more & more of a push for intimacy. She had only gone out four times with Eric when… She couldn’t bear to think of it! How had she let this happen? Celeste & her parents were Christians & regular church attenders. Celeste had accepted Jesus as her personal Savior when she was just eleven. What had happened to that little girl who used to blow kisses into the sky to Jesus? What would make her give herself away to a boy at age 17?

When God tells us to save the gift of sex for marriage He has a reason. Becoming intimate with someone means you become “one flesh” (see Genesis 2:24 above). That holds huge emotional significance, especially to us females. If you get involved with someone in this way, you are getting emotionally involved big time…if this guy is not your husband that means an open invitation to pain & invisible scars that are the hardest to heal – your emotional well-being is going to be compromised. Another thing to think about are the possible consequences of sex: STDs, pregnancy, not to mention the emotional problems. With God’s plan these things don’t have to be worried about. Sex is a gift for marriage & a means to create a family, anything outside of God’s plan will leave regret, shame, awful memories, a void, & a gift that cannot truly be recaptured.

Celeste walked toward the almost deserted pier. The sun was shining bright on the water making everything look dazzling. Everything except Celeste herself. She had been afraid to even utter the words, “Dear God” since that night with Eric. No prayer could escape her lips. Celeste uttered to the wind, “He’s not going to want to hear from me. How can I talk to Him?” She muttered, feeling tears creeping into the corners of her eyes. She lay her head on the wooden railing & stared into the rolling water below. “How can I...face you…Daddy.” Tears came then at the mention of the word she hadn’t used for her God since she was little. “Oh, Daddy, please…please,” her tears fell into the sea as she whispered her cry. “Please, please, oh…please, Daddy! Still be able to use me & love me & look at me & see something…something beautiful.” She kneeled down letting her head lay heavy on the old pier railing. “Father I’m so sorry! I’m so horribly sorry! You know what I did. I wish you never saw… Please, Father, forgive me…Daddy. Show Your mercy & Your grace,” her tears kept flowing, as she stared once again into the deep & hidden water, “I need an ocean’s worth, Father. Way more than an ocean’s worth of Your grace & mercy! Please forgive me, Daddy.” Celeste lay there with her eyes staring into the Pacific for longer than she knew. When she finally lifted her head to the sun, she raised her hand to blow a kiss into the sky.

Forgiveness is such a sweet, most often undeserving, word. As people we mess up. Ever since the fall in the garden of Eden it’s been so. We need someone to come in our place & pay for our sins, otherwise we’re stuck with the bill. Believe me when you see the price your eyes will bulge out of your head & you’ll think there’s no way you can ever wash enough dishes (or do enough “good” stuff) to even make a dent in the humongous cost...&, you know what? You can't. But wait, someone’s digging in their own wallet &…hold everything…they’re paying the bill! That’s kinda how I think about God sacrificing His own Son, Jesus, on the cross, & in doing so, paying the ultimate price: dying our death. Yes, that should have been my cross, my nails, my funeral. But God’s love is infinitely more than our sin, & He wants us with Him…even when we feel ugly, dirty, & shameful. Yes, Jesus’ death on the cross is powerful enough to remove the sin of sexual impurity – don’t discount it. I heard this song from Matthew West called “History,” & I have to say, at first I didn’t quite believe one of the lines. Here’s the lyrics that hung me up, “The hardest part is forgiving yourself.” When I first heard that, my human self thought, “How can that be! It’s definitely harder for God to forgive us & all the awful stuff (murder, hate, sex outside of marriage, stealing, gossip, impure thoughts, & all the rest) we do!” But, upon further reflection, I changed my mind. If we are God’s children & have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior; have truly & sincerely admitted our wrongs to Him; fallen broken at Jesus’ feet, seeking forgiveness – then “the hardest part is forgiving [ourselves].” Let your past sins, you’ve done the above for, fall away & not rule over you & hang upon your shoulders. Jesus hung upon the cross for that. Let them fall into the sea & sink to the “ocean’s floor”…hmmm, that reminds me of another good song by Audio Adrenaline.

Celeste sat in the back seat of her parents’ car as they headed for church the following Sunday. After her time on the pier with her Savior she had bravely told her parents the truth she had held silently. She knew she was going to have to deal with the scars; that regret & shame would still creep up seeking to drown her at times; & that there would be a long road to forgiving herself for sinning against God & giving away the gift that should have been kept safely & solely for her possible future husband. But, Celeste knew one thing as she stared out the window looking at the sea, her Heavenly Father – her Daddy – had forgiven her. At church, during the invitation, she was going to go up with her parents & ask for prayer for healing & freedom from her past. Celeste uttered a silent prayer asking for strength. Somewhere deep inside she knew it was going to be all right, & that Jesus still thought she was beautiful & useful in His kingdom. She had been cleansed through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Stealing her glance away from the Pacific, she noted her mom consumed with reading her Bible & her dad focused on the curve in the road ahead. Swiftly she raised her hand in a silent kiss towards the sky.

If you have lost your intimacy before marriage or found yourself involved in impurities, know that there is forgiveness & hope in Christ Jesus. No sin is too great that His sacrifice on the cross won’t wash it away. If you don’t know God & His Son Jesus, come to know Him as it says in His scriptures (see my "Good News" section for more) so that you may claim your forgiveness through Christ, & know true freedom from all that guilt, shame, & unworthiness you carry around like a load of bricks. Reclaim your purity today, making a commitment from this day forward to save yourself for marriage. God can heal & make you beautiful again: beautiful to Himself, to you, & to your future husband. No matter what you’ve done He can wash it away.

Here's the songs I mentioned above.



4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Bess for the encouraging post and comment! You are such a wonderful Sister, and I thank God for you:)
    Many blessings be upon this evening, dearest sis!
    Love always,
    Grace
    P.S. Thanks for your prayers!

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  2. Beautiful story. thanks for sharing.

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  3. I've never done anything quite that dramatic...but there are definitely still times when I wonder how on earth God could possibly forgive me, especially when I keep repeating my sins :(

    I love the fact that Jesus has already taken our sins to His cross, and that we've already been forgiven! I guess sometimes I need a bit of a reminder. Thank you so much for writing this!

    P.S. I think you're a ridiculously good fiction writer :)

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  4. Bess,
    That was a wonderful story! I really enjoyed it!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Liz Darcy

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