Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who never gets a free pass? Other people seem to say or do whatever they want, with no consequences. “Oh that’s just so and so” people say. But when you say one thing that makes someone the slightest bit uncomfortable, they never speak to you again. This happened to me recently, and it’s very upsetting. I have rehashed that conversation over and over again, and I feel like I handled it calmly and respectfully. Obviously they did not feel the same way. So I apologized and fully took the blame for the situation and that still was not enough. And it left me feeling like I wasn’t worth the effort it took to overlook my mistake.
Sometimes, though, we get way more free passes than we deserve: people who love us in spite of our quirks and flaws and mistakes. Around my house, I am known as the small appliance killer. I am on my 4th Kindle, my 2nd Keurig (that still doesn’t work right), and my 3rd phone in about as many months. It drives my husband crazy, but when I mentioned I really wanted a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas, guess who ended up with an amazing Ice Blue Artisan mixer? This girl. (And I haven’t broken it yet.)
The truth is that none of us always gets a free pass, but most of us will get one at some point or another. I imagine our parents and other family members give us free passes all the time. I guess a better word for “free pass” is forgiveness. Or you could call it loving someone in spite of themselves. An even better word is grace.
Grace and forgiveness. Big words with big meanings that we talk about in Bible class. And sometimes it’s easy to let those words fly past us without acknowledging the power behind them. The truth is that the same God that created the universe has provided each and every one of us with a free pass. Our Heavenly Father looks at us and says, “I’m going to overlook that flaw; I’m going to love you in spite of your selfishness because you are precious to me.” But our flaws are not just overlooked to pop up later. Our Lord doesn’t tease us about our mistakes. No, our flaws, our sins, have been eradicated by the blood of Jesus Christ. God sent His own Son to lower himself to become a man, to suffer with us, to love us, and to die for us. He tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
But Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. His atoning sacrifice was so perfect that death could not hold him. When we hear that message and believe it, we are commanded to repent of our sins, confess that Jesus is Lord, and be baptized so that we can be covered in His blood which grants us a free pass into heaven.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
We’ve recently finished the Easter season, and while it’s easy to get lost in needing a new dress, or eating Cadbury eggs (my favorite), I hope we understand the amazing gift, the free pass, that our Father provided for us by sending Jesus to nail our sins to the cross. But through His completeness, His perfection, death could not hold Him, and He was raised, providing us with eternal Hope. When we understand the magnitude of this act, I believe we will be more willing to show others forgiveness and compassion, granting free passes to help show others God’s love.