Do you find it difficult to believe that God has truly forgiven you? I think there are just too many people carrying around guilt even after they’ve asked God to forgive them. They still live in the “if onlys” of life and imagine what their lives would have been “if only” they had not made a wrong choice.
I want us to look on the other side of forgiveness—when we have personally been forgiven and yet we don’t seem to enjoy that forgiveness. This thought came to me in one of my daily prayer zoom meetings which we’ve been having with the women in my church since COVID shut us down, and this dear woman asked God to forgive her because she knew she was forgiven by him, yet she wasn’t enjoying her forgiveness. And I immediately thought of many people I know who would fall into that category—including myself at times.
I remember a time many years ago now, when I had come back to full fellowship with the Lord after a long period of chasing my dreams and living my life my way. I was truly sorry for my wayward ways and had confessed them. I knew that God had forgiven me, but one day as I was praying, some of those past sins just came flooding back into my mind. And I was once again ashamed and embarrassed and so regretful that I had allowed those sins into my life. So, I started asking God once again for forgiveness, specifically confessing them. And honestly, the voice of God’s Spirit to me that day was almost audible, as I heard him say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Isaiah 43:25 says: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Have you ever tried to erase something from your memory? We all have things we would like to forget but we just can’t totally erase things from our memories—at least not the things we’d like to erase.
Have you discovered that the things you’d like to forget are the things that hang around your mind, and at the same time you forget lots of good things that you should remember? It’s a common human problem; we remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. And who do you think aids and abets us in that process? The enemy of our soul, Satan himself. If he can keep us mired in the regrets from yesterday, in the guilt we insist on carrying with us even though God has forgiven us, then he steals our joy, robs our peace, and keeps us in bondage to the past.
That’s why I want to encourage you to enjoy your forgiveness.