Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12 ESV
Years ago, an angry, distraught, and hostile man slipped into St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture The Pieta. This cherished work of art was severely damaged. But what did officials do? Throw him out and forget about the sculpture? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore this treasure. By His sovereign grace, God can bring good out of our failures, and even out of our sins. (Source Unknown)
Too much focus is placed on sin and not enough on forgiveness. Indeed, there is a tendency to give too much attention to other people’s failures while their restoration is barely celebrated. We are seemingly obsessed with iniquity and lukewarm to God’s redemptive work. When a sinner is saved heaven rejoices continuously. But after the baptism, that believer becomes just another church member, in most cases, and the joy of their salvation can quickly fade away for lack of support.
Today’s text reminds us that God is more concerned about restoration than our condemnation. God mourns when we sin. He does not want us to remain in that state of sinfulness. After all, He sent Jesus to die so we can be redeemed and restored. It is our restoration that stirs the heart of God. Thus, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
It is exciting to think that God does not remember my sins of yesterday. His mercies are renewed every day, so we can walk in restoration and not guilt. That is why it is so important to forgive others for their trespasses. Forgiveness starts the process of restoration. It makes it possible for the seeds of love to be sown and a harvest or restoration to be reaped.
Ephesians 2:10 declares that we are God’s masterpiece created for good work. But, like Michelangelo’s Pietra which was smashed by an angry, distraught man at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, the devil has used sins to smash us because we are God’s cherished creation. However, God did not give up on us. He sent heaven’s best restoration expert, Jesus, to restore us by redeeming us with His blood and saving us from eternal damnation.
Jesus’ ministry on earth was a ministry of restoration. Why then are so many brothers and sisters in the Christian faith more concerned about sin than restoration? Yes, we should hold every Christian to a standard of godliness. Biblical ethics should define the way we represent Christ on earth. But what about grace, forgiveness, and restoration. When a brother or sister repents for sin or moral failure, we should be careful not to remind that person of their past transgression as we continue to celebrate their restoration.
We need to pray for God to change the way we see one another. Most people are struggling in their spiritual walk. We are not God and do not have the ministry of judgment or condemnation. God wants us to encourage one another to walk in renewing our minds according to our faith in Jesus Christ as forgiven sinners. That means focusing more on grace and less on judgment. Therefore, let us be intentional in celebrating who we are in Christ and not shine the lime of shame on other people when they are trying to return to God. Every saint is a sinner who fell but returned to God in a spirit of confession and repentance.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How can you help a brother or sister feel restored in the faith?
What does it mean to be restored?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for restoring me as your son. Please open my spiritual eyes and soften my heart so I can be more focused on restoration than judgment and condemnation. Please transform the heart of those in the church who are more concerned with other people’s failures than their restoration. May they develop an ethic of grace as their hearts overflow with love for others.