Let’s imagine for a moment, a big tube of toothpaste.

You have it in your hands, you unscrew the lid and you squeeze.

The toothpaste comes out and it’s everywhere.

Now imagine you putting the toothpaste back in the tube.  How would you do it?  How silly you would look to everyone walking by?  How long before you quit trying? How frustrated would you get?

I have found a lot of people are trying to fix their past. They will try all kinds of methods drugs, shrinks, even religion (check out some Bible Studies and discipleship groups). They can’t, it is a futile as trying to put the toothpaste back.

You know what changes the whole scenario? Mercy 

Mercy means they are forgiven.  They don’t have to put the toothpaste back.  They are given a clean slate, just as if they had never sinned.  This takes faith.

Soul winning is about mercy.  It’s about God giving us a new future. It’s about letting people off the hook. It’s about withholding judgement.   It’s about helping people when they fail. It’s about getting the toothpaste off the table all together. Mercy cleans up the mess.

Don’t get me wrong.  Sin is sin.   Sin is separation from God.  Sin is evil.

We can’t fix sin no matter how hard we try, that is just cruel. Legalism in church is a lot like making people put the toothpaste back, it’s futile, it’s frustrating. Not to mention looking silly to the family and friends.  No, once there is sin the only solution is a new life bought and paid for on the Cross.

We can’t downgrade sin to just making mistakes or even a criminal act. When we downgrade sin we make it seem possible to fix it on their own.  We make them believe it is possible to put the toothpaste back.

God isn’t like us. 
I’m so glad God isn’t like people. He didn’t make the criminal next to Him on the cross put the toothpaste back.  He throws our sins into a sea of forgetfulness.  He never brings them back up.  He never mentions them again.  It is the cruel and heartless that does. It is the cruel and heartless that makes a person try to fix something they can’t. 

To the world we represent Jesus. In other words we re-present Jesus. When we withhold forgiveness and mercy it is like making that person put the toothpaste back. There are somethings people just can’t fix, no matter how hard they try. When the world watches us do this to even our own brothers and sisters we are telling them God is cruel and heartless too.

I’m not going to go to far with this because then we will start slipping around on that greasy grace.  That makes a whole new mess entirely.

Q4U: How does it feel when someone doesn’t forgive you?