Willing To Forgive
Growing up in church, I was well aware of all my sins. In fact, I fully expected (perhaps dreaded is the better word) that some day God would punish me for all the bad things I’d ever done. I knew I deserved judgement, and in that sense, my theology wasn’t too far from the truth.
Scripture makes it clear that, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” Before we can ever hope to be restored to right relationship with God, we must understand that our sin merits His judgment. Indeed, this knowledge is foundational to the Gospel message.
And yet Psalm 86:5 is clear — God’s very character is forgiving. He actually wants to forgive us. The Amplified translation puts it this way: God is “ready to forgive.”
I never heard that growing up, and in all honestly, I have trouble believing it now. When I sin, something inside me struggles to believe that God wants to forgive me, not begrudgingly, but willingly.
His Heart For Forgiveness
This same passage tell us the reason for God’s benevolence toward us — because He is good and “abounding in love” toward those who call on Him.
Picture this. For those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God is actually overflowing with love and stands ready to immediately forgive us for any and all sins.
This picture of God is nothing short of life changing. If you’re like I was, struggling to believe that your sin makes you too bad for God’s grace and forgiveness, look toward the hope of Scripture. Remember that God is good. He stands ready to forgive you and is abounding in love.
Break The Silence
When we live in the silent shame of our sin, we perpetuate a false understanding of the heart of God and fail to live in the Spirit-filled freedom He provides. We must confess our sin and embrace forgiveness in Christ.
Building this practice of confession into your daily communion with God is so freeing. King David understood this. His words from Psalm 32:3-5 illustrate the agony of silence and the power confessing our sin to the Lord.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
As Christ followers, this practice allows us to experience and re-affirm the cleansing power of Christ’s work on the cross each day. Moreover, we live in agreement with Jesus’ command in how we ought to pray to our Heavenly Father, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12)
This truth frees us from guilt and shame, and leads us into unspeakable joy by way of His limitless grace.
Dale Sutherland is the President of International Care Ministries USA. Prior to this, Dale spent over 20 years serving in various ministry roles at McLean Bible Church in McLean, VA, and most recently as the Lead Pastor for Strategic Initiatives. Dale has three daughters, three sons-in-law, six grandsons and one granddaughter.