I am God's Daughter

Reflecting my Father

But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.  Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:35-36 HCSB

“But I don’t want to go.” My son slunk down in the recliner, arm crossed, frowning.

“You’ll go, and you’ll act right.” My husband didn’t let up. “Because do you know who you are representing when you are there?” 

Our son sighed and said, “You.”

Indeed.  Everywhere my children go, they represent their father.  Their behavior reflects on him. And because my husband is a decent, upright guy, he expects his children to act the same.  He wants them to act the way he does.

God expects nothing less of me, his daughter. In fact, in this verse He tells me exactly the godly qualities he wants me to copy.

He tells me he wants me to love my enemies, because that’s what he did.  Remember Jesus on the cross?  Remember these words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  If He can forgive those who are torturing Him to literal death, He expects me, His daughter, to forgive those who have slighted or insulted me.

He expects me to lend, expecting nothing in return. Since I’ve been back in the States, this one isn’t such a big deal.  No one but my kids has come to me for money.  But as an American living in a Third World country?  Wow, this was almost an every-day issue, and being asked for money got very old very quickly.  We were, of course, discerning in who we helped, but there was more than one time I wished this particular verse was just not in the Bible.  But it is.  And God expects his daughter to obey it.

God also wants me, his daughter, to be gracious to the ungrateful and evil, because He is.  Have you ever had to deal with a truly ungrateful person? I have.  When I have gone out of my way to help someone, and get no response or even a negative response, that just pushes the cheese right off my cracker. But God is gracious to those kinds of folks every day.  Can you see me, slinking down in my recliner? If I am to truly reflect my Father, I will treat those people with grace – unmerited favor.

And, God wants me, his daughter, to be merciful, for no other reason than the fact that He is merciful. When my own daughter comes to me in tears, confessing a sin to me, I give her mercy instead of a stern lecture. That’s easy, because I adore her. But God also expects me to be merciful to people I don’t like, the annoying people, the ungrateful people, the evil people.

And if I do all these things? My “reward will be great, and I will be a daughter of the Most High.”

This verse seems to indicate that these things are what make me God’s daughter, because they are the outward signs of my inward change. 

I am forgiven

Forgiven by My Father

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him. ~ Psalms 103:10-13, NKJV

This is my favorite passage. Let me show you why . . .

Several years ago we caught one of our sweet children doing something wrong—and it was a pretty big deal. It was long and convoluted, and the whole of it played out in dramatic fashion (little girls are knitted with drama, right?). After the worst of the confession and discipline played out, she sobbed heavily. It was the kind of crying that comes from the soul, from a heart that is broken, not from a sneak that is simply mad at having been caught (I have three daughters, so I’ve become pretty good at recognizing the difference). I looked to my husband and we exchanged one of those puzzled ‘now what?’ glances. Disappointed by and now concerned for this rebuked, distraught little darlin’,  we gathered her little trembling frame close.

EscapeShe pushed us away.

“Why?” We asked.

“Because you don’t love me.” She cracked between labored breaths.

I began to cry with her. “You really think I don’t love you?”

She took the tiniest peek at me, and then turned away. “No.” She broke again. “No, but you shouldn’t love me.”

Oh, that killer moment. It still makes me tear up.

I love my little girl. I wish we had different words for love, because saying I love her the same way I say I love my coffee doesn’t do any kind of justice to how I really feel for her. I. LOVE. Her.

Years past that moment, though I can remember the poignant emotion of that day, I honestly don’t know exactly what she had done. Because it was forgiven. It’s gone.

I’ve felt her ache, though. In moments when I realize how utterly wretched I am, how desperately broken, ugly, and wrong my heart is, I weep before God. “Why do you love me? You shouldn’t.”

And then He takes me close, and I’m pretty sure there are tears in His inaudible voice as He whispers, “I love you. As far as the east is from the west, I have removed your sin.”

And it’s gone.

I am Precious

Mercy and Compassion

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. ~Micah 7:18-19, NASB

Mercy and compassion. Two of the most beautiful words penned.

When I work with the kids in Awana, I have a practice of beginning with the bad news: we’re filthy in our hearts. We look together at Jeremiah 17:9 — the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it. Often times these precious ten and eleven year olds can’t seem to grasp the idea that all of us are hopelessly sinful. Dirty.

But me? The more I see of myself, the more I struggle with the darkness of sin in my heart, the more I grasp that I need cleaned. I desperately  need a savior. Here’s what I have a hard time grasping: because He delights in mercy He will again have compassion on us and remove our iniquities.

That kind of compassion honestly blows me away.

My son was recently sick. Puked all over himself and the carpet. Ew. I mean yuck. No one wants to touch that kind of mess. But I’m his mommy, and I love my baby boy. So, I put him in the bath, washed his smelly little body, got him some water and a fresh pair of pjs, and then put him back to bed. And then got to work on the carpet. Scrubbed it until the mess and the smell was gone.

I didn’t tell him to get to cleaning. I didn’t even expect him to help. Compassion washed over me as I tucked my sick boy into his bed. It stayed in my gut even as I set myself to the task of puke evacuation.

Nothing shows love quite like the willingness to clean up someone else’s nasty mess.

I often wonder what Jesus is thinking, feeling, when he cleans my putrid heart. This again? When will she ever learn? Or, This is the last time. I’m not doing this again.

No. Because He delights in mercy, and lavishes His compassion upon me.