In the movie, Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou, three prison escapees evade law enforcement while journeying home to find a hidden treasure. The three convicts, Everett, Pete and Delmar, embarked on a fantastic journey mirroring that of Homer’s The Odyssey while traversing the back roads of Mississippi.
One afternoon, while dining on fire-roasted gopher, the three observe a group of Christians march down to the river’s edge for a baptismal service. Delmar runs out into the water, speaks to the pastor, and then is baptized. Pete follows suit.
Later, the three discussed their fates as they drove down the road.
“But that man said that our sins were washed away,” Pete said.
“We’ve been forgiven of our sins,” Delmar said.
“You boys may be square with the Lord, but the State of Mississippi is a little more hard-nosed,” Everett explained as he convinced the boys to stay incognito.
They had been forgiven by God, but not by the State of Mississippi.
Scripture promises forgiveness of sin and redemption from sin. However, those around us might not be so quick to forgive.
I recently read a Facebook post from a lady who had recently been baptized. She had repented, trusted Jesus Christ as her Savior, and had followed the Lord in baptism. She was in church. She was raising her kids. She was making every right decision she could think of. However, the people around her were still skeptical, and reluctant to let her back in their lives.
As hurtful as that situation was, we often have to accept that, while God has forgiven us, those who saw us live through our sinful phase may not be so quick to give us a fresh slate.
As painful as it might be, we have to remember that God’s rewards are in the life to come, not this life. If we are living for rewards in this life, we are living for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes we experience the redemption Christ offers, but we don’t see the redemption in our broken relationships. And that’s okay. Just as we have to heal from the scars of our sins, those around us often need to heal as well, and that’s a process that takes time.
In the mean time, remember that 1 Peter 1:4-5 says that we have been begotten “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Whatever brokenness you may be experiencing right now, just know that it is not eternal. The day is coming when Christ will come and receive all of us who know Him as savior into His kingdom, and this pain will be a dark, distant memory. Take heart. Our best days are still ahead of us.