The infamous atheist, Voltaire, said “In the beginning God created man in his own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.” In a sense, Voltaire was right. We fallen and broken human beings do mentally create God as but a larger version of ourselves. We can project onto God our experiences of people as angry, distant, hard to please and unforgiving. We imagine God to be like us. For example, this is what Martin Luther struggled with as he imagined God to be like his human father, angry and unforgiving.
How glorious the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ! Rather than God being a larger version of ourselves, created in our own image, God reveals His higher ways to us: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Because God forgives in ways far beyond our imagining, he invites everyone: “Let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). We cannot project onto God our thoughts and ways. God’s thoughts about us are infinitely higher than our thoughts about us. God loves like we have never known love. God forgives like we have never known forgiveness.
Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. Thinking himself to be especially generous, Peter suggested forgiving the sinner seven times. But Jesus says, “No!” Setting no limits on forgiveness, Jesus corrects Peter, saying, “Not seven times I tell you, seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). Peter, if you’re counting, you’re not forgiving! You just keep on forgiving like your heavenly Father keeps on forgiving you.
Knowing that our Father’s thoughts and ways are immeasurably beyond us, we are bold to ask Him: “and forgive us our sins.”
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)