(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Seeing God’s Love Before I Knew Him
By Amber Johnson
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)
“He who covers and forgives an offense, seeks love, but he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends.” -Proverbs 17:9 (AMP)
In my early twenties, I lived in a dark place.
Second-guessing decisions often left me empty and in an endless cycle of people-pleasing. It was extremely difficult to make healthy decisions for myself, as I desired to keep everyone around me happy. The constant anxiety behind my indecisiveness left me in emotional pain and often left a path of destruction.
It was hard to forgive myself when I made poor choices. That pain was often exacerbated when those I cared about held those past regrets over me and our relationship. I was constantly left with the message, “You have to be perfect in my eyes, or I can’t accept or love you.” I hungered for real relationships with people who loved and supported me no matter what.
In the early days of my dating relationship with my husband, I remember being terrified to ask for forgiveness. I cared for him a lot and feared losing the relationship I had with him. When I did need to ask for his forgiveness, I was completely surprised by his response.
He simply stated that he was hurt, He still loved me, and he wouldn’t bring it up again.
That was it.
I remember being blown away and completely shocked.
He truly wasn’t going to bring this hurt up again? This wasn’t going to be held over my head?
I was shown real love.
His willingness to show love through forgiveness made me love and commit to our relationship all the more. It was freeing knowing that he loved and accepted me even when I made poor choices. I didn’t have to put on a façade of perfection.
My husband’s love and willingness to cover up an offense helped me to begin seeing God before I really knew Him. My commitment and relationship with the Lord wouldn’t begin for another year, but God was working in my life in those days.
The Lord saw my brokenness and hurt and knew I needed to experience forgiveness in my own relationships to see glimpses of Him. I needed to experience what it felt like to be loved, flaws and all, forgiven, and still accepted.
Ultimately, God was the first to show us all real love through His Son, Jesus. Jesus became sin so that our sins would be covered up (2 Corinthians 5:21). When God looks at us, He only sees the pureness and perfection of His Son. It’s up to us to humbly accept that love and move forward in a life changing relationship with the Father.
Today, I still sometimes struggle with people-pleasing. But God continues to lovingly remind me of my worth and value in Him. The Lord accepts me, loves me, and knows what is best for my life. My desires are now to please Him and not to please man. I am at peace with so many of my decisions now because of the Lord’s great work in my life.
I am not only valued, accepted, loved, and forgiven in Christ…
I am free!