Spiritually Speaking… Guilt & Fear, the Faith Killers
Another word about forgiveness, if you don’t mind. This is a critical concept in the life of any so-called Christian who professes faith as their spiritual cornerstone. I read a book that I highly recommend by Beth Moore, Jesus, the One and Only. It continues to be highly impactful for me. My prayers are answered with each chapter and is indeed the impetus for this column. Now back to forgiveness! How many of you repent, but remain in a guilty, fearful state of mind because you really don’t believe God will forgive? If there was ever a challenge of faith, this is it. Deep down inside, you can’t really live a life of spiritual freedom, because you have never thought God would really forgive you for all that ‘sinnin’ you used to do and sometimes long for, even today. I bring this up because I believe you and I are dealing with another clever trick of the devil. If you really don’t believe you’ve been forgiven, you keep asking God to forgive you.
If you keep asking for something that is already done, the mere prayer insults the God who took care of this for you. Enter the devil. Since you cannot accept your own forgiveness, you cannot stand on the faith you profess in God. Hence, you cannot live the life God has cleared for you to embark upon. That’s a hypocrite. Enter Jesus. He took care of that. You are forgiven. Your faith in Him allows you to accept that forgiveness and move on in freedom, which brings you courage for the testimony (yours) that undoubtedly will help others. The ensuing behavior change in you lets the world know your faith is real. That’s a believer. Some might say that’s a soldier for the Lord. Anyway you look at it, the basis rests in the belief in who Jesus was, what He did, why He did it and who He did it for, i.e. you and me and anybody who looks like us. Face it. You are forgiven; not because I say so, but because Christ says so. Deal with it please. With this truth comes a peace that defies understanding and a peace that surely will set you free.
It does not matter your degree of sin, your quantity or your perceived propensity to sin again. Christ did not and does not discriminate on that basis. Remember, you had nothing to do with this. God’s grace is what I’m talking about. That forgiveness thing should resonate in the soul when it collides with that grace thing. It’s up to us, you and me, to accept it. And when we do, something wonderful happens. You begin to see yourself as God sees you. You begin to understand the beauty of salvation and oddly enough, you truly want others to understand this gift also. Your testimony takes shape and your words are then shaped around the blessing that is Jesus Christ. Reread Luke and the tears that washed the Savior’s feet. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved so much…” Luke 7:47. The answer to your being able to forgive yourself lies not within you but within the One who has already forgiven you. May God bless and keep you always.