Actually, it's definitely going to be a lot different. Last Sunday I spoke with a guy who has a sister around my age (maybe a little older). He also has a niece.
He spoke of sadness, of mistakes, of pain. He spoke of anger and frustration and shame. He spoke of hiding and hurt feelings.
He spoke of a girl who knew she'd done wrong and had convinced herself that God could not forgive her for it. A girl who was hurt and angry and alone.
He spoke of a family who was hurt and broken and probably confused. He spoke of locks being changed and a girl moving out.
He spoke of sin and people that made mistakes.
In his story there didn't seem to be any good guys at all. Every character had a flaw or a mistake or something that fellow humans were afraid to get close to or forgive.
I don't want to embellish this story or make it something it isn't. I don't want to take sides. But I want to say this- even if you can't relate much to the hopefully very vague details of this story...please keep reading. I want you to hear this.
I don't know where you're from or what your story is. I don't want to pretend to. I don't want to preach you a sermon or condemn your actions or tell you that you've made a huge mistake.
Because face it, we all have. We should all be condemned to death and we should all be screamed at and told that we're unforgivable because our mistake was way too big. We shouldn't be even remotely close to forgiveness.
And almost since the beginning of the world, we haven't been. Because a woman- a girl, like you and me- made a Big Mistake. The Biggest Mistake, you could almost say. And because of her mistake way back in Genesis 3, we all get the death penalty automatically. Because she'd sort of tampered with our DNA- she'd added a component that wasn't supposed to be there. And this wasn't a component that slowly faded away, no sir. This was here to stay and it wasn't going to fade or diminish.
She added sin to our DNA. She traded our relationship with a perfect God for a chance to know what was right and what was wrong.
But until that day in the Garden there had been no wrong. When she wanted to know what was good and what was evil, she did wrong and let wrong happen. She said, "I want to know," (I know I've definitely said that a time or fifty-eight in my short life so I'm sure she wasn't saying anything uncommon in the female world) and she traded a relationship for facts.
I can't blame here. If it had been me, I would have probably done the same thing. But I sermonize.
She started it, we could say. But as we've all heard a thousand times, it doesn't matter who starts it. Sometimes it matters most who finishes it.
And it's been finished. She broke what God had made so beautiful, and it's been fixed- held together by arms opened on a cross, started over by a life come back from the grave, finished by a love greater than the Biggest Mistake.
When God gave His Only Son up on that cross, Jesus paid the price for sin.
Not my sin.
Not your sin.
Not the sin that had been committed up to that point.
Not the sin that would be committed by unbelievers.
The Bible doesn't say that.
It says Jesus died and rose again for our sin.
Yours and mine and past sin and unbelievers sin and sin that has yet to happen and sin that we all are afraid to talk about or get close to or forgive.
He forgave it.
He did more than forgive it- He washed it away, scratched it out, put White-Out over it.
He unhappened it.
To me that says we have no right to hang on to it and say, "God, You can't forgive this, You wouldn't, it's too ugly, I messed up too much."
Saying that sounds almost like saying Jesus wasn't enough to take care of your sin.
I think maybe God doesn't really feel so good about hearing that.
Because He loves you, and He gave everything He had to win you back. Your Big Mistake didn't surprise Him at all. I know it hurt and you felt bad and it probably surprised you a little (or a lot) but God doesn't get surprised. EVER. About anything.
When He planned the world, He planned your life too, with all of the little details- your first word, the first time you kicked in your mom's womb, the first tear you shed, the first lie you told. All of it. Every mistake, every joy, every smile, every tear- He cataloged it and planned it and designed it.
So nothing you've done or ever will do will surprise Him, and He knows the rest of your story. He's got it figured out. You can trust Him in that. And if you'll let Him, He's beyond ready to forgive you and restore you and start rebuilding you. You never lost His love or forgiveness. He wants you to see that and believe it and trust Him when He says, "I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Don't hide from Him or run from His place and His people. He's forgiven you no matter what, and as hard as it is to believe (I know this from experience of my own) His forgiveness is all that matters.
Run to Him. He loves you.