The principles of scripture are designed bring life to our hurting hearts, but sometimes it takes years for our emotions to absorb the truths our souls recognize.
Here is one truth that has taken me years to feel:
God forgave me to set me free, not to make me feel ashamed and guilty.
Do you believe this? I don’t mean in your mind, I mean in your gut? When you stand before God with all your sin and shortcomings, do you believe God wants to punish or protect you?
When the prodigal son made his way home, he knew that the disrespectful way he had treated his father years before was punishable by death. Not only did the letter of the law give the father permission to kill his son, but any other family member or employee was also justified for such action.
As Christians, our souls know that God has every right to demand our lives from us, to punish us for falling short. In our pride, sometimes we may wish for punishment above exemption. But this is not the heart of our father.
The father RAN to his son. This may have been out of fondness and excitement, but another motivation might have been his urgency to save his son’s life. He rushed our to see his son and placed his own robe around his son’s shoulders, a symbol of acceptance and protection. Perhaps his speed to meet his son was motivation by his fear that someone less forgiving might take his son’s life before he could cover him with a robe of protection.
Sin carries with it a sense of scorn, but Jesus died to remove this plague from our lives. When we sin, instead of accepting forgiveness as a badge of shame, God wants to clothe us in robes of redemption and protection. I have reiterated the fact that we are incapable of perfection. God knows it. You know it. I know it.
So, throw off your filthy rags and let forgiveness do it’s work. Forgiveness protects you in two ways.
First, it disarms anyone who may point out your flaws by acknowledging you are incapable of accomplishing what Christ did on the cross. Instead, you rest in his ability to make things right.
Second, it cleanses your conscience before God. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God”! In other words, if Jesus blood was able to cleanse him from the sins of the entire human race and present him faultless before God, surely his blood will do that for you as well! When your soul’s emotions are able to grasp this truth, then you can move forward and serve God.
God doesn’t want you to waste any more time wondering about your punishment. He wants died for your freedom.
Let go and let God take care of your sin.
- Meditate on this scripture: Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
- Make a list of all the sins you truly believe Jesus’ blood is incapable of covering.
- Now, ask a trusted friend to help you with your guilt. Do they believe Jesus has forgiven you?
Offer It Up:
Jesus, sometimes we have a hard time believing you would rather forgive than judge us. Remind us today that your heart is to rescue us from the things that cause us suffering instead of pinning us beneath a finger of judgment.
- Scripture brings life to our hurting hearts, but sometimes it takes years for our emotions to absorb the truths our souls recognize.
- Sin carries with it a sense of scorn, but Jesus died to remove this plague from our lives.
- God forgave to set you free, not to make you feel ashamed and guilty.