Prince and I have a contest to see who loves the other one more. Usually it starts with an "I love you," which is reciprocated with "I love you more." Prince then says something like, "I love you to the moon and back." We try to see who can go the longest distance. One day he said he loved me to Neptune and back. This morning though, he got me to thinking when he said, "Mom, I love you to heaven and back." I got what he was trying to say, but my mind went somewhere else with it.
1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Did you catch that in v. 4? "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent." How many times do we not see the sin in our own lives? We all have it, but it is much easier to see the sin in other people than in ourselves. Sometimes we do things and we know we are in the wrong, but there are times when we sin and we don't even recognize it. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will convict me of those sins so that I don't repeat them. I will admit though, that sometimes I don't want the Holy Spirit to convict me because I don't want to change. It's easier for me to be ignorant about that sin than to have to change my heart and attitudes. This Lenten Season though, I have thought about how much my sins must have hurt Christ. When I look at pictures that depict the crucifixion I see the marks where he was whipped, the blood, and I think of each of those lashings standing for sins I have committed and it hurts. It hurts me to look at him, innocent and blameless, he took the punishment for things I have done, sins I haven't even committed yet, but he knows I will. Is he resentful? No, he knew what he was doing and why he was doing it and the answer lies in what Prince said to me this morning. "I love you to heaven and back."
I don't know when that day will come, when Jesus will return for all of us but I do know this: I can't wait for the day that I am face to face with him and I can wrap my arms around him in an embrace so strong that I won't ever want to let go. I can't wait to look into his eyes and see the depth of his love for me. Until that day, I will take my sins again and again to that cross and leave them there with a repentant heart, knowing that his death guarantees that I have a place with him in heaven. I will ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me those sins that I can't see or recognize and to help to me change my heart and actions to love and behave like Jesus. "I love you to heaven and back," he says and he does.