2001-05-03 - Trusted Secrets
1 John 4:15-18 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (NAS)
It is said that you can choose your friends, but your family is given to you. The thought is that there are many different types of people from generous to difficult in any family. But, because they are family, you love them, support them and watch out for them even if they are difficult. With friendships, it is both different and the same. With friendships there will also be difficult times between people. It is the nature of people and relationships for misunderstandings and even a little selfishness at times. Apologies are given and accepted in any relationship that is of value. While our families know many things about us and love us anyway, friends know too. But the acceptance of very close friends and spouses is special. These are the people who know all about us - our deepest secrets - treasured moments, most painful failures, victories and sins. They accept us at this close range and share those ties, standing beside us through anything and everything - even when we are wrong. They may tell us things we don't want to know or hear, but they do it because they care and are concerned for us. This is very close to this perfect love that is described in the verse above.
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother who is spoken of in Proverbs 18:24. That description speaks about this close inner circle of friends and loved ones in our lives. Then there is Jesus. He knows us even better than we know ourselves. I have seen glimpses over the edge into the pit that is my heart. I know that I am capable of great caring and protectiveness. And I know as well that I am weak and as fragile as any mortal man in my own strength - capable of very selfish and self-centered actions. By the grace of God I also know that Christ knew all of this before He made me and He made me and loved me anyway. Apologies in this relationship are very one-sided in the form of repentance and forgiveness. He forgave me when I asked Him for His salvation, and even then He knew I would stumble and fall many times after that and still will. But, He loves me still, and because of that I can take comfort in asking for forgiveness. It is the process of restoring the relationship, not unlike apologizing to a friend. There is a severe level of trust in standing before either a close friend, spouse or Jesus Christ and offering no defense asking, "Please forgive me." There is no fear in perfect love. No fear of rejection or denial. There may still be consequences for our actions, but there will be acceptance of you inspite of whatever you many have done.
Many who will not accept Christ do not understand the need for repentance. They do not feel they are so bad that they need to repent. To repent is to simply agree with God and turn from your sins, or to apologize basically. it can be humbling. It is a tiny price to pay for a relationship that He will never turn from as your friend.
Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (KJV)
Grace & Peace,