Why is it that even after we ask for forgiveness we still feel so dirty inside? Why is it that we don’t always feel like we’ve been forgiven, even with all of the promises of scripture?
Sometimes it’s hard for us to let go of our disappointment from our own failures, even after we accept God’s forgiveness. Often we use forgiveness as a way to ease our consciences and not as a fresh start for our lives. We treat the forgiveness of God like a get out of jail free card, using it to get out of trouble, but riding the same path straight toward it again and again. It’s a game to us, to our heart, which acts in much the same way as the One Ring in “Lord of the Rings”. It’s never satisfied until it’s back in the hand of it’s master: evil.
I often find myself not feeling truly forgiven because I’ve never truly repented, nor have I even forgiven myself. It’s in times like these that I have to check myself. Am I reading a few verses before bed, or am I really taking time to study the Word of God. Am I praying just at meals or when I verbally and mentally think about God during the day, or am I intentional wearing a spirit of prayer and specifically praying for things at length.
Does my heart seek after God, or am I just going along to get along? When I slip and fall, do I ask God for a consciences clearing forgiveness, or a deep rooted, spirit-altering forgiveness that actually changes who I am? Who am I? A sinner who happens to be a Christian, or a Christian who happens to sin?
Forgiveness. Do I ever really accept it? In order to be forgiven, you have to do three things.
- Ask: all you have to do is ask for the free gift of God. He wants to forgive you, but will not force forgiveness upon you.
- Accept: you can’t just ask God to forgive you, then never forgive yourself. If you can’t accept the forgiveness of God for your sins, you cannot be forgiven.
- Act: true forgiveness is evidenced in our actions. When we accept God’s forgiveness, we realize that what we did was wrong, and we turn from it, promising to try never and do it again. Forgiveness shows up in our everyday lives.
If you truly want forgiveness, you have to be willing to walk away from that sin, that vice, that addiction and toward a brighter, more righteous life. Temptation to do evil comes from within us, and the more we live for ourselves, the more we fall into sin and selfish living. God can and will forgive you from that, but you have to ask Him, accept it, and act it out in your life. Forgiveness changes people. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a change.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist