The Apostle Paul - “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24)
As humans, we are inclined to make mistakes, mess things up, and even cause chaos on a regular basis. So far in our devotions, we’ve talked about the need for and the process of “coming clean” to the Lord. However, once we’ve asked Him for forgiveness, we need to be ready and willing to accept His forgiveness as well.
When we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness, God forgives us instantly. He doesn’t make us wait. He doesn’t make us suffer. This may be hard for us to understand because this often happens to us when we deal with others, but the Lord doesn’t treat us like the world does. He freely forgives us and takes away our sins. Although we could never earn His forgiveness, He forgives us completely. He completely wipes out what we have done.
Accepting God’s forgiveness is seen throughout the scriptures. King David writes, “For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:11-12) The prophet Micah writes, “Once again You will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (Micah 7:19) The Apostle Peter preached “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. (Acts 3:19) And the Apostle John writes, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)
If the Lord is so willing and able to forgive us, then we should also be willing to forgive ourselves. The Apostle Paul, once again, writes “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Sometimes we offer forgiveness to others and yet won’t forgive ourselves. We serve a God who cries out to us saying “You’ve beaten yourself up enough. It’s time to move forward. I’ve forgiven you and I want you to forgive yourself. If you do not, you’re refusing to accept My forgiveness and you are choosing to stay in the past. I want to give you a better future, but you need to forgive yourself so you can live in it.”
Followup Activity - Spend a few minutes reviewing your personal moral inventory, making note of items for which you need to ask forgiveness from the Lord. Then, in your journal or on a piece of paper, write out a prayer to the Lord, confessing the items you noted when reviewing your personal moral inventory and asking Him to help you accept His forgiveness. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, dialogue with them about what it means to accept forgiveness from the Lord and then guide them through the exercise written above.
Prayer for Today - Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness of my sins. Please help me now to be able to forgive myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.