We’ve all been there. We’ve chosen to do something selfish, something mean, immoral, or maybe even illegal.
We’ve made willful decisions that hurt people and bring shame upon us. Deliberate actions that cause life-long consequences for ourselves and others.
Sometimes it takes a long, long time to admit our wrongdoing.
And when we do, the enormity of our offence hits right between the eyes.
The depth of our corruption feels like a kick in the stomach and we take a new look at ourselves and say, “I never dreamed I could one day be capable of doing that.”
“Who am I? And what that kind of person am I, really?”
Yes, we’ve all been there.
Eventually we realize we couldn’t hide any of it from God. He knows every detail.
Like David, we cry out, Oh, God, don’t cast me away—don’t shove me out of Your presence! Don’t chase me away! (Psalm 51:11)
And we know deep down inside that we can do nothing—nothing—to undo what we’ve done. We can’t make our actions disappear. We are powerless to do anything to clean ourselves up.
All we can do is fall on our faces, confess our hard-hearted, selfish disobedience, and ask God’s forgiveness.
If our repentance is sincere, God is ready to forgive.
If we’re ready for “…a radical reconstruction of the heart,” (Max Lucado), God is ready to forgive.
“… a radical
turning or returning to God
that results in
(from NIV Study Bible footnote for Matthew 4:17; emphasis mine)
Yes, God is eager to forgive.
Remember that symphony from last week? Here it is again:
“God not only puts our sins out of sight
he also puts them out of reach
(Micah7:19, Psalm 103:12),
out of mind
and out of existence
(Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22; Psalm 51:1, 9; Acts 3:19).”
(NIV Study Bible’s comment for Isaiah 38:17; emphasis mine)
God’s forgiveness is complete.
His forgiveness is perfect.
We are undeserving, but “… Through forgiveness, [God] releases us from a debt we could never pay and assures us of His continuing love for us.” (Martin De Haan)
Our only response must be to accept His mindboggling forgiveness, grace, and mercy.
Fully accepting and grasping God’s forgiveness can take a long time, but after we do, can we forgive ourselves?
And after God forgives us, after God takes our sins from us—as far as the east is from the west!—should we forget our wrongdoings? Or should we remember our willful disobedience? Or should we do a little bit of both?
We’ll come back to this next week but, for now, think about these questions. Pray about these questions.
Listen to something important:
your kids, grandkids, great-grandkids,
generations yet unborn—
will struggle with their own failures
God can use your life’s stories
to help them turn to Him
for forgiveness and restoration.
Spelling out every last detail
might not be appropriate
(more on that next week)
but with God’s help,
you can write stories to bless
entire families and generations.
What stories do you need to write?