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Monday, February 2, 2009

You Don't Deserve Forgiveness

People often come to me lacking peace. They have done something they neither feel forgiven for nor can they forgive themselves. They are living under this cloud which continually reminds them that they have fallen far short of the expectations they had of themselves. It is a terrible way to live.

You don't deserve forgiveness. No one owes it to you. You cannot earn it either. No compensation for what you have done will erase your sin. Forgiveness is an act of grace that God has given to anyone who wants it.

You sinned just as everyone in the world has. There are no perfect people. We have all sinned. We have all needed God's grace. There are no holier than thou people even if they think they are. We all have needed God's grace.

Grace is a gift. That's why its called grace. God sent His only Son into the world to die on a cross to fulfill the requirement for sin. The wages of sin is death- Jesus paid that price so that God could give His gift. God gives this to all who trust in Him. We give our lives to God and He gives us forgiveness forever.

Do you think that the reason people have such a problem with forgiveness could come from a lack of giving their lives to God? Some people think the price is too high to receive God's forgiveness. Trusting in God means you will obey Him and receive all that He has for you. Part of what He has for you is complete forgiveness.

One reason some people don't feel forgiven is because they have never repented of what they did. The pattern is always the same. They deny what they have done until it is no longer possible to deny it. They minimize what they have done by not telling the whole truth. Then, they blame others for what they did. There is no feeling of forgiveness as long as there is no repentance.

Sometimes people are afraid they will repeat their sin. They hold this sin over themselves for a very long time because they are afraid that by forgiving themselves, they will commit the sin again. They punish themselves for years or even for the rest of their lives even though God has already forgiven them.

Trusting in God means you also trust in His ability to keep you from past sins. That is why confession is so important. You bare yourself before God so that you can receive His strength to flee from temptation.

Once you have true forgiveness you can't help but forgive others for what they have done to you. You know they don't deserve your forgiveness any more than you deserved God's. That's why you must give it.

I watched a commercial last night with a lawyer claiming he would get his clients money if they have been injured. He said, "I will not forget! I will not forgive!" I thought, "I don't want him to be my lawyer. I don't even want him to live in my neighborhood." How can you live with yourself if you never forgive? How can you know your sins, know forgiveness and not forgive?

No, we don't deserve forgiveness. Thank God we don' t have to.

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