ashes      I attended my first Ash Wednesday service tonight.  I must say I was overcome with emotion.  As I sat there, ashes on my forehead, holding the bread and wine of communion, contemplating the state of my heart, I felt something come over me.   And it wasn’t the shame of my sinful heart.  It was love.

I have long known I needed forgiveness because I was a “sinner” in need of redemption.    I remember first asking for this forgiveness at the tender age of 5.  I don’t think I truly understood what I was doing, or what I was asking for.   As I grew up I began to understand more and more what it all meant.   So many times I asked forgiveness, wailed over my sin, human frailty, all the while guilt and shame consuming me.   I missed something.  In all my 39 years of sitting in church hearing message after message on salvation and forgiveness, I missed an important part of it, love.

I am not sure how I could have missed it, but I did.   Forgiveness is an act of love.   God sent Jesus, his Son, to die on the cross because his love for us outweighed any hurt we would cause him.   I forgive my husband even when he hurts me. Why? My love for him is greater than any hurt. God forgives us when we sin and hurt him because his love for us is greater than any hurt we could cause him.

I have long struggled with the shame and guilt of my sinful nature. I wear them like a heavy winter coat.  I am quick to point out all my flaws and frailty.  I can curse like sailor, think thoughts I shouldn’t, struggle with anger, I could go on.  But God looks at all that and says “You asked me to forgive you right?  I don’t keep a record Mindy.  I have already forgotten it.”   Love keeps no record of wrong ( 1 Corthians 13).   He loves me enough to not only forgive but forget my sin.   So why can’t I?

As I sat there in my seat tonight these thoughts racing through my head, I felt the heaviness of shame and guilt fall off, and love run down.    God gave up his son, because his love was greater than any sin I could or would commit.   Forgiveness is an act of love.



February 19, 2015. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Jan Puterbaugh replied:

    Beautifully said Mindy! INDEED: “Forgiveness is an act of love!”

  2. Peggy Heintz replied:

    Mindy – what a beautiful piece you have written. The service was wonderful. It touch me so deeply as well. I am so glad you were able to write it all so beautifully. Thank you for this!

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