When I was younger I did a lot more things that were unwise. In one particular instance, my friend and I decided to build a campfire in the woods. It wasn’t long before it was bigger than we could handle. We didn’t want to tell our parents what we had done so we avoided them and tried to get help from my friend’s brother. The water hose wouldn’t reach and we eventually had to tell my friend’s mom who called the fire department. That night, I felt bad and was afraid of my dad finding out. Because of my guilty conscience, I avoided being around him. I don’t even remember what he did when he found out. I just remember trying to not cross paths with him because of what i had done.
That same guilty conscience has a way of showing up in my spiritual life too. When I sin or mess up, i act like Adam and Eve. I try to hide from God. I avoid my prayer time because I’m embarrassed. Even though I’ve asked for forgiveness, there’s a period of time where I allow my shame to keep myself out of His presence. I know I’m not the only one who does this. We all do to some extent. We somehow think our failures and sins disqualify us from being children of God, even after we’ve repented. Even though God has forgiven them and forgotten them, somehow we can’t.
I find hope in 1 John 3:20. It says, “Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and he knows everything there is to know about us” (TPT). God knows everything about us including our thoughts…and He still loves us and calls us His children. If you struggle with this like i do, it’s time to forgive yourself because God already has. You are still His child and worthy of being in His presence. Don’t diminish the work Jesus did on the cross by thinking your sin is somehow stronger than the blood He shed. It’s time to Forgive yourself. God isn’t looking for perfection from you. He understands your human condition and loves you no matter what you’ve done. Find your freedom today and get back in His presence.
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash
I think grace is one of those things that’s hard for us to understand because it goes against human nature. It’s forgiveness. It’s free. It’s unearned. Not only are we supposed to receive it, we are supposed to give it. Doing those two things seems like a constant battle for most of us. How can God or anyone else forgive the things I’ve done? How can I forgive something someone else has done to me? Those are tough questions that we all wrestle with, but in my life, I’ve found God’s grace to be sufficient.
In the New Testament , Paul used the word grace over and over. If anyone needed it, it was him. He had hunted down and murdered Christians. He even referred to himself as the chief of sinners. If anyone had a past that was seemingly unforgivable, it was him. He had to learn to accept God’s grace and forgive his own past. If he struggled with it, he knew others would too. That’s why in Acts 13:43, referring to Him, it says, “The apostles spoke to them and encouraged them to keep on living in the grace of God” (GNT).
He had to remind himself, others, and us to keep living in God’s grace. Our past sin is not greater than God’s grace. You might be thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done!” I don’t have to know. As I said, Paul was a murderer. Specifically he murdered Christians. God’s grace is more powerful than anything you’ve ever done. Learn to accept His grace, forgive yourself, and then live in that grace. Remind yourself over and over that God has cast it as far as the east is from the west. If He’s not going to hold it over you, then don’t hold yourself down with it either.
Part of loving life in the grace of God is also giving out grace. For me personally, this is harder than receiving God’s grace. I have to remind myself that they’re intertwined. To continue to receive God’s grace, I need to give grace. Jesus said that if we didn’t forgive others, God couldn’t forgive us. The first person we need to learn to forgive is ourselves. After doing that, learn to forgive others for what they’ve done. Living a life of grace is hard to do, but not impossible. You can do it with God’s help.