Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why We Must Dwell On Forgiveness

By Jill Daniels
After all those days of skipping lessons and not reading some God spoke directly to me when I needed it most today in my bible study.
Recently I’ve been noticing how past sin has affected how I feel today. It’s hard for me to think that God has forgiven me so easily. I tend to think I need to sit in guilt for a while, like a time out, before I can “feel” forgiven. This most likely correlates with the fact that it’s hard for me to forgive others instantly after hurting me.

I have been reflecting on why I have these tendencies and God really spoke to me this morning through a beautiful story. Follow me into God’s Word today as we hear a wonderful story! 

Read Luke 7:36-50.

When I first read this story I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of the woman crying at Jesus’ feet. I have been there many times, truly feeling the depths of my sin and wondering how I will ever pay for them. I have wondered many times if God can even use me because of my past. Who am I to speak to people about integrity, purity, friendship?...the list could go on and on.

I tell myself that I’m horrible. I tell myself that I will never be a good Christian. But the truth is, everyone messes up. No one is perfect. I will always fall short of God and his holiness.

With how much I have done wrong in my life, how could I not love Him much? I truly do believe that because I feel God has forgiven me of much sin, I cling to him that much harder. It’s not a clinging that I feel is necessary for him to forgive my sins, almost as a payment: “If I spend every morning with Christ then he will forgive me of these debts.” No, I have to spend time with Him.

I cling to his feet and anoint them because I don’t know what else to do after he has forgiven me of so much.

Now if only I could stand in his grace. I get the whole, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” (Matthew 5:4) but as my husband tells me, I’m missing out on the glorious peace and freedom God offers in his grace!

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

Beth Moore’s words reflected on this verse are great, “According to the parallels Christ drew through the parable, both the Pharisee and the woman owed debts they could not pay. Her sins may have been regarded as 10 times greater, but at least she knew she was in debt.”

The first step in all of this is to realize that you are in debt to our gracious God. Standing in that debt for far too long is what I struggle with. I see the gravity of my sin right in front of me and I can’t believe that God can and does just forgive me. But listen closely to this last part,

“And [Jesus] said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ … ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” (Luke 7:48,50)

It’s that easy. We are forgiven. I am forgiven. Go in peace. It truly is that easy. I make it out to be a lot harder at times but it is that easy.

A couple nights ago I was feeling bad about some things that happened years ago that I had already confessed to the people I hurt and to God. I couldn’t figure out why I was still feeling bad about the situation. Steve said to me, “You keep dwelling on your sin. You need to dwell on your forgiveness.” 

He was right. What I needed to do in that moment was to not allow myself to feel that guilt. (I’m not a feeler at heart, more of a thinker, so this might be easier for me than others.) Every time my mind or heart would pull me to think about how I messed up, I told myself, “God says, ‘Your sins are forgiven; go in peace.’” 

God wants us to stand in his grace. He wants us to feel forgiven, to hold on to that peace. We don’t need to make up for the sins we have committed. We don’t need to stand in pity or in guilt. We can feel forgiven.

God, I know my tendency is to dwell on my sin for far too long. What I need is to dwell on your forgiveness. I pray that you would turn my bad habit into a good one. Change the way I think Lord. I believe you can. Help me to see the gravity of my sin but to see that your grace is bigger than any sin I commit. I thank you Lord for your forgiveness. I am forever grateful! 

Amen. 

What would it look like for you to dwell on God's forgiveness today?

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