“As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
I had the awesome priveledge this past week to attend a Women’s Ministry conference on leadership. It was a few states away so I took an extra day off to make the trip there. Even though the conference didn’t start until noon the next day, I didn’t want to try to make a six hour ride the morning of. On my drive there I re-listened to a book by Pricilla Schrier called ‘Discerning the Voice of God’. This is something I’ve been feeling like I lack for a while now so I am trying to learn to ‘Be still’ and know He is God. I, all too easily, get in the way. I get too busy, I’m on my phone incessantly, my mind wanders… I needed the reminder to ‘BE STILL’.
That’s why, although I had the hotel room to myself, I sat in the quiet room for those few hours that first evening spending time with God. Praying, listening and reading my Bible. During my reading a past sin (transgression) came to my mind. It is something that happened a very long time ago, however, it’s not something I’ve been able to let go of. I got hurt and so did others. The next morning I was up bright and early so I spent some more time with God before heading to the conference. I left the hotel a bit early (I was a bit nervous) and arrived 45 minutes early to the church it was being held at. I felt a little silly being so early, until I saw other ladies waiting in their cars as well.
Since I had so much time before being able to go in I decided to listen to a sermon by Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Texas. It was about forgiveness. It was a reminder that we need to go to God with ALL of our sins. Not just ones we don’t mind admitting to. I knew all too well that this was not a coincidence with the memory I had the evening before. Just as the sermon ended it was time to go in. I registered, got the freebies that came along with it, and sat down in the sanctuary. Not too long after sitting some fun music began to play and the worship leader got us all up dancing and having fun. After we prayed we continued singing and singing songs of worship to God.
THEN…another ‘But God’ moment. The worship leader spoke of sin, things we did and need prayer for. Or prayer for something we may be struggling with. Things we may not have let go of yet. She let us know that there was a blank index card in the bag of freebies. She asked us to write down whatever that thing was we were holding on to, needed prayer for. That she, alone, would read and pray over each and everyone one of them that evening. Prayers that we can seek forgiveness and give it to God. I couldn’t. I couldn’t write the actual words. I did write a brief summary, but I knew that God knows what it’s all about. As I walked up to the altar to leave it there for her I could barely contain my emotions. It was truly difficult to not fall to the floor in despair. I didn’t know until then that I was holding on to that situation.
Unfortunately Satan knew all along. And he’s been making great use of it. The amount of shame I felt was unbearable. I needed the reminder that God does not fill us with shame and condemnation. He will convict us (rebuke our behavior, convince us of a wrong we’ve done). All too often we hear only on how we need to forgive others. And we do, it is vitally important. However, to live a successful life as a Christian we need to forgive ourselves once we’ve asked God to forgive us. Psalm 103: 12 tells us that He removes our sins far from us. Isaiah 1:18 tells us that “…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Once we’ve asked God to forgive us, and we are truly sorry for what we have done, God wipes the sin clear and it exists no more.
So why do we hold on to it? Why can’t we forgive ourselves?
The reasons we don’t forgive ourselves can vary as much as the transgressions themselves. We hurt others…We broke relationships…Others have not yet forgiven us. I think one of the biggest ones…What we did is so completely out of character for us. It can be difficult to admit that we did that at some point in our life. Whether your ‘that’ was 20 years ago, or yesterday. Go to God. Tell Him what your situation is and what you’ve done. Ask for His forgiveness. Then ask Him for the strength and guidance on how to move forward with those around you.
If you are truly sorry for your ‘that’, His forgiveness is promised. He doen’t mull it over and think about if He’s going to forgive you. It became a done deal at the cross. Jesus died for YOU. Place your name there. “Jesus died for ____”. He died taking every single ‘that’ that you and I have and will ever do. He took the eternal consequences of that on Himself. Why? Because He loves YOU more than anyone else ever could. Don’t hold on to your ‘that’. As I told a friend once (and needed the reminder myself this past week) ‘Once we ask for God’s forgiveness He gives it and we no longer have a rite to hold on to it.’
We live in a difficult world. A world where people tend to think more about themselves than those around us. And each of us have some type of struggle to stay on the path that Jesus laid out before us. Being in His Word and in prayer are so very important to help you keep your eyes on Him. If you arent’ doing either regularly yet, take a step forward and start. And take another one tomorrow.
I pray that you will feel the pure love God has for you. If you haven’t given your life to Him yet please know that He loves you. As is. He already knows everything we have or ever will do and His arms are open wide. Waiting for YOU. Won’t you come?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6: 10-13
In the precious name of Jesus,