When I was a child of maybe ten, I heard a sermon about the sin against the Holy Spirit.
I don’t remember my response to it in the moment. But evidently the horror of the idea sank deep into me, creating a nightmare. In the middle of the night I rushed into my parents’ bedroom crying and asking for their help. In my dream, I had committed the sin against the Holy Spirit. I was sure I was going to hell for committing “the unforgivable sin.” I needed my parents to remind me of God’s unshakable love.
Both my mom and my dad comforted me, assuring me that I was going to be fine. They kept explaining that it was not possible to commit a sin like that while sleeping. I was not convinced! Finally, they explained it in a way that made sense of my fear. If I had committed the unforgivable sin, the Holy Spirit would no longer be working in my heart. I wouldn’t care if I’d sinned or not.
My fear of having sinned unforgivably showed that the Holy Spirit was in my heart and working.
Their love and the love of God comforted me greatly in my parents’ room that night. I learned that nothing in heaven or on earth could separate me from the love of my Father in heaven. Jesus had expressed this love in his sacrifice for me.
What I did not learn until perhaps a decade later is that I had rushed in on my parents in the heat of a very intimate moment.
What I had thought was the middle of the night had only been perhaps 11:30 p.m. Talk about committing the unforgivable sin! My parents’ loving response to me despite my more-than-awkward interruption of them turned out to be a wonderful analogy for me of how much our God loves us. Even when we do really stupid things, really inappropriate things, or cause others lots of pain, he will not leave us:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 37-39 NIV)
How do we convey this powerful love of God to our children? I’m guessing most of us will never be interrupted in such a moment by our children.
So how do we find moments to convey to our children God’s unshakable love for us? Can we convey it in such a way that they take it with them as permanent knowledge?
Do you have a memory of an incident that gave you a special opportunity to share the powerful love of God with a child? Or a moment your parents shared it with you?