I am re-reading a book that I highly recommend by Beth Moore, Jesus, the One and Only. It reminds me rather vigorously that forgiveness is still a critical concept in the life of so many so called Christians, who profess faith as their spiritual cornerstone. The book is turning my soul inside out because it vividly reinforces to me that I am getting prayer answered with each chapter and that realization is the impetus for this column. Back to forgiveness! How many of you repent, but remain in a guilty state of mind because you really don’t believe God will forgive you your acknowledged transgressions? If there was ever a challenge to faith, this is it. Deep down inside, you can’t really live a life of spiritual freedom, because you have never thought God would really forgive you for all that ‘sinnin’ you used to do and sometimes miss, even today. I bring this up because I believe you and I are dealing with another clever trick of the devil. If you really don’t believe you’ve been forgiven, you keep asking God to forgive you.
Now follow me for a minute. If you keep asking for something that is already done, the mere prayer insults the God who took care of this for you. Enter the devil. Since you cannot accept your own forgiveness, you cannot stand on the faith you profess in God. Hence, you cannot live the life God has cleared for you to embark upon. That’s a hypocrite. Enter Jesus. He took care of that. You are forgiven. Your faith in Him allows you to accept that forgiveness and move on in freedom, which brings you the courage necessary for the testimony that undoubtedly will help others. The ensuing behavior change in you lets the world know your faith is real. That’s a believer. Some might say that’s a soldier for the Lord. Anyway you look at it, the basis for faith rests in the belief of who Jesus was, what He did, why He did it and who He did it for, i.e. you and me and anybody who looks like us. Face it. You are forgiven; not because I say so, but because Christ says so. Deal with it please. With this truth, also comes a peace that defies understanding; a peace that most assuredly will set you free.
It does not matter your degree of sin, your quantity or your perceived propensity to sin again. Christ did not and does not discriminate on that basis. Remember, you had nothing to do with this. God’s grace is what I’m talking about. That forgiveness thing should resonate in your soul when it collides with that grace thing. It’s up to us, you and me, to accept it. And when we do, something wonderful happens. You begin to see yourself as God sees you. You begin to understand the beauty of salvation and oddly enough, you truly want others to understand this gift also. Your testimony takes shape and your words are then shaped around the blessing that is Jesus Christ. Reread Luke and the tears that washed the Savior’s feet. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved so much…” Luke 7:47. The answer to your being able to forgive yourself lies not within you but within the One who has already forgiven you.