September 18, 2011 by Heather Harris
Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty. I know I am forgiven through Christ, but my humanity eats at me, and when Satan gets me alone, the lies start to creep into my brain: “You aren’t worth God’s time. You say you’re a Christian, but look at what you’ve done. You let God down too many times. Don’t expect Him to believe you are sincere when you ask for forgiveness. How could you be, when you just do the same things over and over again? Don’t even bother. He doesn’t want to hear from you.” Lately I’ve begun to believe it.
See, here’s the thing:
I am not the shy, innocent, straight-laced Christian that I often tend to paint myself as.
I’ve struggled with self-injury, self-medicating, and depression. I struggle with sexual sins. I’ve gotten drunk, smoked cigars, and inhaled cigarettes…And I’ve struggled to believe that God could really forgive me for any of it.
BUT, I am forgiven.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I know there are others out there who struggle with the same things, who need to know that they are not alone, who need to be reminded that sin is part of being human, and guess what? GOD UNDERSTANDS.
That’s right. Now, that doesn’t make sin excusable, but it does make it forgivable. God realizes we are weak. He realizes that we are going to fail. In fact, His whole plan to have Jesus come to Earth, live a perfect life, die on the cross, and rise again was all in response to the fact that He knows each and every one of us are sinners and loves us anyway. He’s not this looming presence staring over our shoulders waiting for us to fail with a sour, disapproving look on His face. If that’s your idea of who God is, then put it out of your mind. God loved us “while we were yet sinners” (Rom. 5:8), which means *gasp* God knows we sin, and *gasp* wants to forgive us, before we even ask. There is no sin that God will not forgive if we ask Him sincerely to do so, no matter how many times we’ve done it, no matter who we’ve done it to, no matter how bad it might be.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
If you are a Christian, God looks at you and sees Jesus’ sinless life. Our sin was crucified with Him. God’s wrath was poured out on the cross. Not a drop is left. Which means, not only are we set free from sin, we are set free from the guilt of our sin.
So, we Christians have to stop living in guilt and fear. God knows we sin, and He loves us anyway. He wants to free us from letting sin weigh us down and stunt our growth. He wants to show us that while sin is in our nature, it doesn’t have to control who we are and what we do. We have to be aware that it’s there and actively fight it, but when we mess up, it doesn’t mean that we are messed up for good. Don’t listen to the lies with which Satan tries to twist your mind and heart. We are forgiven, we are set free, we are guiltless because of God’s grace and mercy. He gives it freely. When we inevitably mess up, God wants to hear from us. He wants us to run to Him, lay our guilt and shame at His feet, and LEAVE IT THERE.
So let’s let go of our sin, our guilt, our shame, and live with the boldness and security that comes with God’s true forgiveness. Though we are sinners by nature, we do not have to be sinners by choice. Fight it, friends. Every day you wake up is a day you choose to leave behind your guilt and live like the new creation God has made you. Let’s make that decision together, and help each other stick to it. We were never meant to do this thing called life alone.
What sins have you struggled to believe have been forgiven? Let’s share our weaknesses so we can help each other grow in our strengths!