One of the hardest things we as Christians have to believe is that God has forgiven us. We know it's true in theory, but when it comes down to the practical, everyday situations of life, we so often behave as if it's not.
To forgive totally and without reservation is counter to our nature. I am sure you remember the discussion between Jesus and his disciples about how many times we should forgive someone who sins against us. He told them to forgive again – and again – and again – if necessary.
It’s hard to fathom that level of forgiveness. We're not capable of it, so it's difficult for us to comprehend that God is. We often forget that his forgiveness is not provisional. We feel that although God says he has removed our sins, he's really waiting to punish us if we fail to live up to his standards.
This is the way we tend to forgive. We behave like trick birthday candles. When you try to blow them out, they light up again.
No matter how hard you try to blow them out – they keep coming back. These candles are a good representation of how we tend to see ourselves as forgiven, and how we forgive others. But that is not how Divine forgiveness works. When we repent of our sins, God forgives and forgets. There is no further penalty, no negotiating, no resentment awaiting further judgment.
God does not want to think of you as a sinner. He sees you for what you truly are – a repentant human being, cleansed of all guilt, paid for and redeemed by Jesus. Remember what John the Baptist said of Jesus? “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He does not temporarily set sin aside or just hide it.
God forgives totally, and that is how he wants us to see ourselves – and others – even though we are still imperfect.
When we ask for God’s forgiveness – it is given.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.