I have a confession to make. For most of my ministry, I've taught Isaiah 55:8,9 out of context. In fact, I see now that I missed the big picture. Here's the verse: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher that the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
I've always believed this passage taught that God is not like us; God is bigger than us. Even though that's true, that's not the primary point. The context begs us to ask, "in what way are God's thoughts bigger than our thoughts?" Answer: when He forgives.
God's like, "Let's compare. When people sin against you, your way of handling it is completely different than how I handle it when people sin against Me."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but here's how we measure forgiveness:
1. We think who. Who should we forgive? "She did this and I don't know if I can forgive her." We question if they are worthy of our forgiveness.
2. We think how much. We measure the things on our list. We say, "I can forgive that-no problem" to some and "I could never forgive that" to others.
3. We think how often. How's that saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." We're like, "Nobody's going to do that to me again!
Everything we think about forgiveness is measured with our little yardsticks. I wonder if God shakes His head and says, "Your thoughts are so little. Look at me and get the bigger picture.
We can't conceive God's boundaries on forgiveness. They're so much bigger than we can get into our heads. Since all of our sin is ultimately against God, imagine all the times He has chosen to forgive. Isaiah is right-as high as the heavens are above the earth...and then double it...and again, ad infinitum.
This is all great in theory, but now I'm going to meddle. Are you thinking, "God could never forgive my thing? If I ever really brought my sin before the Lord, He would turn His back. I'm just going to have to carry this one myself because He's just not merciful enough to forgive me." My friend, you are so wrong! God's forgiveness is not like our forgiveness. It's higher and greater and available upon request. God can completely pardon but you must make the choice to ask for and receive His forgiveness.