But He Forgave You
By Annelise Jagitsch
“Lord, forgive me please.” I had messed up again. It seemed I could never overcome. Every time I would ask God to forgive me I would walk away and mess up again. I was beginning to become discouraged. I didn’t feel like I was forgiven even though I had asked. And then, on top of that, I couldn’t gain victory over this small flaw in my life. Why was I even wasting my time asking for forgiveness if I would never feel forgiven?
This is a common problem for people today. We ask God to forgive us for our sins and shortcomings but then we don’t feel like we have been forgiven. We ask God for forgiveness again and again for the same thing. We beat ourselves up and get discouraged. Sometimes we even give up completely. So how can we be assured that God has forgiven us?
We have all read 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse clearly says that all we have to do is ask God to forgive us and He will do so, but so often we don’t truly believe this. During a week of prayer at my school, someone pointed out that when we don’t take God at His word and trust Him, we are actually telling Him that He is a liar. When He says that He forgives us the first time, and then we come back over and over again asking for forgiveness, it’s like we are saying that He never forgave us. Now, I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t want to call God a liar. Satan is called the “Father of Lies.” I don’t want to put God in that category.
We find that the root of this problem is a trust issue. We don’t actually trust God. Oh, we read the Bible and go to church. We tell testimonies and pray. But we don't actually trust God when it comes to our private lives and our biggest struggles and temptations. We ask Him to forgive us and then walk away feeling more guilty than when we came to Him. We pray guarded prayers. We don’t let Him into the most hidden parts of our lives. We tell Him, “God You can have this portion of my life, but stay away from that part. That’s not for You.”
Sometimes we don’t want to surrender something to God. Sometimes we just don’t want Him to know what we have been through or what we have done. This always creates distance between God and us. It would be like if you got married and then you only let your spouse know certain things about you. You never let them know everything about you. You never told them your problems. That would create a very strained relationship, and if it continued like that it would eventually die. That’s exactly what we do to God. But why? He already knows everything about us anyway. It’s that silly trust issue. We don’t trust God. It’s as simple as that.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5. God has always known everything about us and he always will. There is no point in hiding things from Him. He already knows it all. But still, He wants us to tell him about everything. He wants us to tell Him when we are struggling and to admit when we don’t want Him to take something from us. He wants us to tell Him about the things that make us happy and the things that make us mad. He wants us to be transparent with Him. Why? Because that transparency helps us grow our relationship with Him. It helps us grow closer to Him and trust Him more.
How does this apply to our earlier issue of feeling guilty even though we have asked God for forgiveness? If we have grown in our relationship with God and learned to trust Him then we will have faith in everything he says. If He says “I forgive you…” we will trust that He means what He says and there will be no reason to feel guilty. In the sanctuary, we find all sorts of ways that God is there for us and ready to forgive, listen, and show us things. He is always there. He is always ready to forgive you. So have faith that His words are true and that when you mess up and ask for forgiveness that you are truly forgiven. You don’t need to feel guilty about it anymore.
The God of the universe and creator of you and everything else has forgiven you! You are free of that nasty sin. He doesn’t have to forgive us. He doesn’t have to love us. We don’t deserve it. But He does anyway. He loves us so unconditionally and forgives us so readily. Trust God today and go tell Him everything that is bothering you. Tell Him about your day. Tell Him what made you smile and what made you cry. And most importantly let Him into that closed-off portion of your life. Give Him full access. You will be surprised how much it will help.