forgiveness

My mom has always been a Super Evangelizer. She is the type of crazy lady who asks the man pumping our gas, “Do you know Jesus?”

But she is also really, really beautiful so no one seems to really be bothered by it.

I’ve never been like that. I mean the evangelizing thing. (I’m still hoping her genes pull through for me, looks-wise.)

I’m just not like that. I just don’t…how do I say this in a nice way?…

I don’t like people. 

I’m April Ludgate.

I’m not a people person.

And sometimes there doesn’t really seem to be a place for that in the church. Ministry people are cheerful and gracious and, well, not me. But recently I was hanging out with some people and we had some wine and they started asking me questions about what I believe and I answered them because I like to be honest.

And it felt really good.

And it made me think that maybe there are divine roles for the mes and the April Ludgates of the world. Maybe it’s our sulky honesty that makes people feel like they can ask things like,

How can God let a “repentant” murderer into Heaven?

And I can tell them that I don’t know…it seems pretty messed up to me. It’s literally the hardest thing for me to understand about His love. How are the sickos and the apathetic and the outright cruel bastards forgiven just the same as me or a granny or a baby? But at the same time, it is the most wonderful thing. Because here’s how I understand it:

God made us. He loves us like His kids. So when we screw up, of course He is sad, but we’re His kids. We ask for forgiveness, He grants it, we all move on. We don’t lose value in His eyes. I think that’s the difference between God eyes and human eyes. We place people in categories and hierarchies because we want to climb on them or aspire to be them. We want to place them in order around us so that we feel better about who we are. So we can create some sort of makeshift identity by comparison.

But to God, we all screw up. It’s all the same. Like a parent visiting their kid in jail, He’s still there, even when He’s sad. Because we’re His.

I don’t say all of this to brag about how I have answers and I inherited the Super Evangelizer gene or anything like that.

It’s just that today is Good Friday, the worst holiday ever. The most tragic celebration ever. The day where we celebrate the fact that God came to earth and we humans didn’t recognize Him. He healed people and spoke kindly to prostitutes and reminded everyone what a truly loving person acts like, but for some reason we didn’t believe Him when He said that He was God.

So we beat the hell out of Him. We tore the flesh right off of His bones, humiliated Him and then ultimately executed Him in a manner reserved for the most horrific crimes. Because we just couldn’t fit His kind of radical love into our narrow human definition.

And there it is:  the reason that a murderer can get into Heaven is because God was murdered. He was executed like a criminal, saddled with all of the most vile sins we could ever commit. God died so that we wouldn’t have to. Because He cares so much about His kids that He was willing to take their punishment on His perfect self so we could be treated as innocents. So that we could get into Heaven.

And I’m all fired up and I’m not sure if that makes sense. But do you get it? Do you understand why my mom wants to tell everyone she knows about this?

You’re forgiven. We are all forgiven. Murderers are forgiven because on a Good Friday, thousands of years ago, God died to pay for that specific murder and all of the awful things you do every day that you don’t think stack up to murder.

I may not be very good at the bright and shiny thing. I may not care to speak to the person pumping my gas. I may roll my eyes and retreat and have a hard time with small talk. But this is good and important and I need you to hear it:

We’re all the same: children, sinners, forgiven.

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