A Letter to a Friend
Hope your week is going well. I can’t get out of my head the brief conversation we had when we last spoke. You told me about how much you enjoy Pastor’s preaching, as well as his regular references to God’s grace. But you also told me that you’ve done a lot of stuff in your life that you regret. And then, our conversation was interrupted, and we never got back to it. I kept thinking this week about what I would have said if we had had more time and maybe more privacy to delve into that conversation. But I thought I’d write you to start a dialogue between us on all things regret, love, and grace.
To start, I don’t know all of the choices that you’ve made in your life that you regret. But I know a few things for sure: you are seen by God and loved by God and God is for you – just as you are, regrets and all. Jesus sacrificed himself and then conquered death three days later so that you might have life and have it to the full – no matter the ways you’ve fallen short. It is unconditional love from God. Unconditional. There are no strings attached. It’s pure acceptance. It is GRACE. To all that you are, including your regrets, God says, “Yes, you are my kid. And I love ya to death.”
God’s love and grace for us are central to the Christian faith. Christianity has a ton to say about the overwhelming, never-ending, recklesss love and grace of God – not least of which is:
“But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.” (Romans 5:20-21 MSG)
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32 NIV)
Just know, from Jesus’ perspective, the love and grace that God offers all of us is like the father running to his prodigal son and welcoming him home with open arms:
“‘Quick[…] Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’” (Luke 15:22-24 MSG)
Unfortunately, some have a lot to say that is contrary to God’s unconditional love and grace for us. Don’t worry about them, as best you can. Just know: God sees you, God loves you, and God is for you – just as you are, regrets and all. And this God, the God who made you, is with you every moment of every day, cheering you on. And so are Dana and I. Love upon love upon love. Grace upon grace upon grace.
I should also add: I have regrets and failures too, especially from my 20s. And you know those well. You are not alone in your falling short. But God is a God of rebirth, of resurrection, of making all things new, of turning brokenness to beauty, of grace. Dana and the boys and our life together are proof of that for me.
This is our God: a God that is loving, caring, patient, kind, trustworthy, humble even to the cross, but powerful enough to conquer sin and death and give humanity new life – “a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.”
This is some of what I wish I had been able to say had our conversation gone further. And I’d love to hear your thoughts in reply. I hope I didn’t overstep my boundaries by writing this to you. But I hope you know that, no matter your regrets, God loves you. With everything He’s got. And so do Dana and I.
Love upon love upon love.
Grace upon grace upon grace.