Vanity tags are everywhere. I don’t have one because I am too cheap to pay for one, but I do enjoy seeing what other people choose to put on theirs. Often, it’s like a game to try to figure out what some of them are saying. Sometimes I attempt to figure out a tag only to finally conclude it’s not a vanity tag at all and I’ve just wasted my time trying to interpret some random tag.

thRecently, on my drive to work, I pulled to a stop at a red light behind a van with a vanity tag. It said, UR4GIVN.

Yes, I thought.

I am forgiven.

I appreciated the reminder. I did.

But then my mind when to the thought of, what if I wasn’t forgiven? What if I had pulled up behind this van, unforgiven, only to read UR4GIVN. What would that tag mean to me then? Would I wonder what this driver was forgiving me for? I mean, what had I done to them? Was this tag for tailgaters?

What would that tag mean to someone who is not forgiven?

The thought occurred to me that the person, who had that tag made, was meting out forgiveness that is not theirs to give. The sad truth is everyone is not forgiven. If everyone who pulled up behind that van, and read the message on the tag were believers in Christ, having recognized their sin and need for a Savior, who had turned from their sin and asked for forgiveness of their sin, I wouldn’t have the problem I was currently having with the tag.

I know. It’s just a tag.

Move on, Stacey.

But my issue is this. We live in a world where society says that everyone must be allowed in, no matter what. We make no exclusions. No matter what they’ve done, who or what they claim to be. No matter how they behave or choose to live their lives, we are to accept them. On the surface that sort of sounds like Jesus. We can come to him, no matter what we’ve done, no matter how we have lived our lives, and find acceptance in Christ.th

And yet we only find forgiveness for our sinfulness when we ask for it. It’s a given we will be 4GIVN if we ask to be, and if we truly humble ourselves before Jesus. He is standing at the ready, eager to give us forgiveness, but we do have to ask. We have to come to the place in our own lives where we recognize our need, our fallen state, and our inability to fix ourselves. When we turn, and we have to turn, he is right there. Finding God is not hard. The Bible tells us, we only must seek him to find him. There is no place he is not.

Psalm 139:7-12 says,

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Forgiveness is free… for the asking. We don’t deserve forgiveness. It should not be ours. We should have a debt to pay in order to have it. And yet, that debt was paid for us.

Our forgiveness didn’t cost us anything, but it cost Jesus everything. We can offer people Jesus, but forgiveness and reconciliation is His alone to give.

I guess it’s just too much to put on a license plate.

So what do you think?

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