The problem with forgiveness is not with God but with me. We know that sin takes a terrible toll on everyone and everything, don’t we? But too many kid themselves, imagining that that three-letter word is some medieval superstition. Long out of its ‘best used by’ date. Not for our time. Good luck with that. For sin’s pain is real and current, coupled with far-reaching effects. So, to have God forgive me of all my sins is way over-the-top amazing. Unearned and undeserved, certainly by me.
Unfortunately, feeling unforgiven won’t let go. I can quickly drum up nasty infractions I committed decades ago. Some insensitive remarks. A put-down that feels good at the time, which rots in my conscience ever since. And lots more and worse. Again, all are forgiven by Jesus. All of them? All. Gone? Forgiven and forgotten by the Lord. Really?
Maybe you need some evidence. I do. Read the first two verses of Psalm 32–‘Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity…’ The word ‘blessed’ in Hebrew can also be translated as ‘happy’. Sins forgiven, covered over, not noticed anymore, and not counted against me ever again. For sure? Am I happy yet?
Any fine print I missed? No. Shouldn’t that make me happy as a lark? For that’s God’s promise to those of us who come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. That’s His Word. What He says. God wants us happily forgiven.
Yet once again I have trouble letting go and being happily forgiven. Why is that? Could it be that I don’t easily forgive others? Possibly. I feel a twinge or two. Or that I know that I’m not pure as the driven snow? No doubt. Got me there. Or that my conscience is way too sensitive, eagerly holding onto the negative, too reluctant to accept what God has positively promised me. Probably. That sounds like me.
Is there any help on the horizon? I think so. Honestly talking about my foibles reveals some honesty which in itself brings rewards. Confession is good for the soul. But there’s more going on as in changing my ways. Doing what I know needs doing. What God wants. Countering those negative thoughts with His good promises. Crowding out accusing voices with Jesus’ accepting ones.
All that would help. In what ways? Relying on His promises more than my guilty feelings? That’s good. Believing what Jesus says more than my fragile feelings? That’s better. Don’t stop now. Refusing to lie helplessly flat on the ground when He offers to lift me up? Come on. Take hold. Acting on what I know He wants. Right! Now we’re headed in the right direction.
Other ideas? You must have some that will help us to feel happily forgiven. Don’t you? Time to practice what we preach?
Thank you, Jesus, for your generous forgiveness and love. Amen.