Have you ever thought about what God will say to you when he greets you at the edge of eternity? Have you ever wondered what God might say before he says, "Well done good and faithful servant"?
I think there’s a good chance he will first say, "Show me your scars." Afterall, this is the same God who displayed his scars for all to see when he died on the Cross for us. He just might approach you and me before we enter his heavenly kingdom and ask us to show him our hands, our feet, and especially our heart. To show him how we served him by extending our hands, our feet, and especially our heart when it hurt to do so.
Scripture tells us the kind of sacrifices God doesn’t want. God doesn’t want animal sacrifice or any material sacrifices we create today, human ways of trying to transfer and pay for our own guilt and sins.
Sacrifices of the Heart Leave Scars
What our Lord wants from us are sacrifices of the heart, our obedience and trust, our courage to love, our willingness to forgive, and our passion for service and spreading his Word. But how do these things create scars, certainly none as deep as those Jesus experienced on his hands, his feet, his side, and under his crown of thorns?
When we act in accordance with God’s commandments and his wishes, it often requires us to go against the grain of other’s expectations, rubbing them the “wrong way,” leaving us scared for God’s sake. We also bear scars won in our ongoing battles with Satan in temptations.
When we place our trust in what God can do in our lives instead of relying on what we can do, especially in trying circumstances, we relegate our ego to a secondary position, a place no ego likes to be. Our ego is scared.
When we open our hearts to others in love, making us vulnerable to both joy and pain, we manifest God’s presence, for he is love. Like a rose bush, the experience of love has its thorns, its scars, especially when love is lost.
Forgiveness Sacrifices Our Pride
When we forgive, something about which Scripture is unforgiving, we sacrifice our pride. For some, the scar caused by forgiveness far outweighs the benefits of releasing the baggage of unforgiveness.
Finally, when we use our hands, our feet, and our resources to serve God by serving others and evangelizing in our corner of the world, we put aside our priorities, sometimes sacrificing our time, our finances, and our physical wellbeing.
Scars of things left undone, purchases not made, and self-serving activities not enjoyed can be worn as spiritual badges of honor in the effort to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
Yes, God will already know what you’ve done or not down when you come before him. But be ready to show him the scars on your hands, your feet, and your heart.
In God’s Words
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)
“God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (Romans 2:6-8)
In the Words of Others
“Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to do something to merit it, then it isn’t forgiveness. But forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting forgiveness.” Timothy Keller
“Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.” Carl Jung
“Loving others always costs us something and requires effort. And you have to decide to do it on purpose. You can't wait for a feeling to motivate you.” Joyce Meyer