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Forgiveness and Making Your Heart a “Manger” for Christ

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Hello friends. This might be a difficult post for some of you. If you’ve been the victim of a crime in the past, please know that I care about the damage it’s caused in your life. If this post is hard for you to read, I apologize.

English: Amazing Grace, First version, in &quo...

Our friend is in a maximum level security prison. It was really rough to know the damage he’d done. It was painful to see him in those locked walls in the humility of a prison-issue uniform . . . the promise of his life spent . . . relationships broken.

Many months have passed since his sentencing. It’s gotten easier to hear the multitude of doors lock shut behind us, show photo ID’s, hold stamped hands under ultra-violet lights, walk underneath curling barbed wire, and sit in assigned seats in a room full of strict rules.

At first, it was unsettling to look around the room at other inmates chatting with their visitors in such close proximity – wondering what they’d done, who they’d stolen life from, how they’d damaged others.

The Stories

Our friend has gotten to know lots of back-stories.

One whose momma – an addict – kicked him out of her home onto the streets at age seven. He lived in warehouses by himself as an innocent little boy. Wild dogs found him and began bringing him food. This boy grew up to become a hit man for a gang. That path walked him right into prison.

Another was abused in multiple ways by his daddy. After his daddy died, his stepdad filled that abusive role in his life once again. Too many years of abuse and he snapped. Killed 13 people. Now he’s buddies with our friend. He’s finally receiving love. Love from God our father who adores him. (Yes – he does.) He isn’t the same person today because of Christ.

So many of their stories are the same . . . horrible backgrounds.

The Precious Gift of Forgiveness

Heard the story of 200 inmates at a praise and worship service – their voices rising up from locked walls. Then they came to the hymn “Amazing Grace.” All 200 of their voices booming . . . shouting it together . . . claiming it . . . tears washing down like a flood over every face. The sweetness of forgiveness overwhelming their hearts. 

They get it – the reality of God’s grace and mercy for deplorable human beings – more than most of us ever will.

Our Need for Forgiveness

Sin and rebellion convict and sentence every one of us. Even one shortcoming separates us from an eternity in God’s holy presence. We are all condemned and there’s nothing we can do about it. (James 2:10, Romans 3:23)

But God is merciful. Has been since the beginning. He’s able to forgive us because of what Christ has done for us. (1 Peter 2:242 Corinthians 5:21)

God sent his son to earth at Christmas for that purpose – to obliterate our debt . . . set us free. That’s the beauty of the Christmas story.

It isn’t about us . . . what we’ve done or haven’t done. It’s about him. Forgiveness says much more about the one giving it – than the one receiving it. 

The attitude in those inmates hearts might be the perfect posture for us this Christmas season. A humble heart . . . a soul overwhelmed by grace . . . unspeakable gratitude for a gift so undeserved by any of us. A repentant and grateful heart is the perfect “manger” to receive the Christ child.

What would it take for us to stand in awe of God’s forgiveness like those prisoners did? How has God’s forgiveness impacted your life?

Sure do love your presence here at The Warming House. Please come again. I’ll leave the light on for you.

Lisa ~

If you know someone who might be interested in this post, just click one of the buttons below to share it. If you subscribe to this blog today, I’d be happy to send you my overview of the Bible, “God Never Lets Go,” – a teaching outline of the entire Bible that you can use with your children, in your church, or anywhere else it’s useful.


  1. Sherri Ohler says:

    Lisa I am reading this teary eyed. Beautiful, beautiful post! And written so graciously for readers on both sides of all fences. You are a blessing 🙂
    Thanks for this!

  2. steffimarie says:

    Amazing, as always. Thanks for sharing. Keep sharing the Savior’s love with the world–one blog at a time! 🙂 Love and miss you, sweet friend!

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