In His Presence.      Forgiveness.     Abiding in Love.

These photos are part of Ali Thistlethwaite's 'Encounters with Jesus' exhibition. The words that accompany them are by David Thistlethwaite.


Liberty Acrylic on canvas 4 x 3 feet, 122 x 91.5 cm

When God says 'I forgive you', that may be the last thing we want to hear. After all, many of us have put a lot of effort into being good. It is hard to hear that God is not so impressed! 'All have sinned' (Romans 3: 23) is not everyone's favourite Bible truth.

But the strange thing is that when we come to admit our blind spots, to come down off our virtuous pedestals to see who we actually are, and to realise that if God is going to love us for eternity he has to die for us, then a completely unexpected joy breaks out. God looks at us and calls us 'OK' because he's made us 'OK'.

Humanly speaking, any kind of real forgiveness is impossible. Why should anyone forgive us? We are always in the way, with our gripes, bitterness and resentments. But when God acts, all our sinfulness is taken away. This painting represents the break-up of our walls, the dissolution of our pride and the eruption of joy as the peace of God takes over.