By: Staci Stallings
Certain songs really make an impact on me. One of those songs is “How Beautiful” originally recorded by Twila Paris. In the last year or so a couple of my local choirs have begun singing this song. We have sung it on several retreats at which I’ve helped with music, and my hometown choir has started singing it too.
Recently I went back home on a night that they sang this song, and there was a line that jumped out at me. It goes:
“How beautiful the tender eyes that choose to forgive and never deny…”
I love that line.
However, I’ve noticed something. The word “choose” is very close to the word “chose,” so some people sing “chose” (past tense) rather than “choose” (present tense). It probably has to do with the whole English teacher thing, but I can’t help but feel like “chose” makes a different statement than “choose.”
When you say, Jesus chose to forgive me when He was on the cross, that is certainly true. No doubt about it. All the way back there, He looked at you and what you’ve done, and He CHOSE to forgive you for it. But saying it that way, for me, feels somewhat removed from right now, and although it really isn’t, it makes this seem more an academic exercise than a right-now personal one.
To me, when I sing that line, looking into Jesus’ eyes and seeing Him CHOOSE, in this very moment to forgive me for all the stupid things I’ve done that hurt Him, I “get it” on a different level. It’s not academic. It’s personal. He is looking at me and with tender eyes saying, “I know what you did, but I choose to forgive you–right now, this minute, you are forgiven.” I don’t know why, but that feels different.
The truth is that Jesus chose (past tense) to forgive us, but He also chooses (present tense) to forgive us. Past, present, and future–you are forgiven! Now go live like it!