Do You Struggle To Believe God Has Really Forgiven You?

balance-154516_640If my little brother wasn’t such a nice guy I’d be in big trouble now. As the youngest of the family he fell prey to the tricks of our sister, ummm … and me.

Like the time he slept peacefully on the couch and I stuck ammonia under his nose. Back then I thought it was funny. Now, I think that I must have had a strange sense of humor.

Now, Charley is nice, but it must be admitted that he tried to get me back. I slept with one eye open after that, waiting for justice to even the score. He still owes me after all these years so I hope he’s forgotten it.

Something in us believes the score has to be even, though, the scales have to be balanced (unless they are unbalanced in our direction).

“Justice” demands it, doesn’t it? How many times as a kid have you promised, “I’m going to get even with you.”

Maybe that’s why we have a hard time believing that God has really forgiven us, even when we’ve asked Him to, and He promised to do it.

Joseph’s Brothers Couldn’t Believe It

It’s like when Joseph’s brothers sent a message to him after Daddy Jacob’s death. Now, these guys owed Joseph big-time. They had sold him into slavery and for years he labored in servitude, then suffered in prison.

God brought him out and made him Prime Minister of Egypt. Then one day, through a series of circumstances, he had his brothers in his hands and could have had them pulled into pieces with wild horses if he had wanted to.

When he knew their sorrow for what they had done was real, he forgave them. He brought them to Egypt and took care of them and their families.

After their father’s death, though, they figured Joseph might want to even up the score. So they whipped up a story, hoping their Prime Minister brother would buy it.

« Before his death, your father gave this command: Tell Joseph, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sin—all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly.’ Will you do it? Will you forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God? » (The Message version)

Though they were in the Prime Minister’s family and benefitted from his generosity and protection, they just couldn’t believe he had really forgiven them.

Like us, they beg and beg God to forgive what He’s already forgiven.

How did Joseph react? “When Joseph received their message, he wept.”

He told them, “‘Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.’ He reassured them speaking with them heart-to-heart.” (The Message)

Do you have a hard time believing God really forgave you? When you look at it, it doesn’t appear logical does it?

Do We Make God Cry?

I wonder if the Lord doesn’t cry a bit when we doubt His forgiveness. “He does not keep on rebuking; he is not angry for ever. He does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs.

“As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honour him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honour him.” (Ps. 103:9-13, GNB)

Even more, He has proclaimed us righteous—because He has made us righteous, right in God’s sight (2 Cor. 5:21). Stop and think about that a minute.

And this righteousness is working in us to make us what we are.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ …” (Titus 2:11, NKJV)

Grace and forgiveness don’t leave us like they found us. They change us and empower us to live the way in a way that pleases our heavenly Father.

So stop. Think. Do you really trust that God, through what Jesus did, has forgiven you? I didn’t say, “Do you feel forgiven?” Feelings change. We don’t depend on sentiments.

He said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9, NIV). He wrote that to Christians, by the way.

Dare to believe that. We feel God ought to even the score but He is like Joseph. He forgives and takes us to Himself. But, His heart is broken when we doubt that He forgives sincere sorrow and repentance.


Hmmm …

Forgive yourself for not being the richest, the thinnest, the tallest, the one with the best hair. Forgive yourself for not being the most successful, the cutest or the one with the fastest time. Forgive yourself for not winning every round.

Forgive yourself for being afraid.

But don’t let yourself off the hook, never forgive yourself, for not caring or not trying.

Seth Godin


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