[peacewithgod.com] 2000-05-31 - Forgiveness

The Forgiveness Series, Part 3

Psalm 86:5 (LB) O Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive, so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.

Numbers 14:20 (NRSV) Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked."

When my children do something wrong, my reaction to their actions is tempered by the way they either admit or deny the deed. When they will not admit what they have done wrong, I am angrier than when they own up to it. We were without electricity for the past five days due to severe thunderstorms in our area. Fortunately we have a gas-powered generator. Of course the cablevision was out, but we had a rabbit ear antenna. My son and his little buddy next door had been playing with this antenna, in spite of my insistence that they leave it in the closet. Sure enough, with the power and cablevision out, I needed that antenna to get the local news and weather reports. Guess what? When I went to find it, it was nowhere to be found. As I “calmly” screamed at my son about the rabbit ears, he denied any knowledge of where they could be or that he had even been playing with them. My calm yells became louder and louder as I cited all the times I had seen him playing with them, and reminded him that he was the last one to have them.

Fifteen minutes later my young son came into my study, holding the television antenna -- minus the connection cord and minus the two metal “rabbit ears.” Dad was not happy. Faster than a fierce prosecuting attorney, I fired off questions: “How did this happen? Why did this happen? What were you thinking? Do you not have respect for property?” With the saddest, most remorseful and repentant eyes, my son said only, “Dad, I am sorry. It won’t happen again.”

A funny thing happened after he asked for my forgiveness. I just hugged him and told him to please not do it again. I held him and loved him and told him that I was very proud of him for finding the broken pieces and admitting his “sin” to me. The admission of the wrong erased all my anger, all my frustration and all my disappointment in my son.

We have a very loving Father in Heaven, Who reacts the same way I reacted to my son when he asked for forgiveness.

Hebrews 8:11 (NIV) For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

There may be Earthly consequences for our sins. If we abuse alcohol or other drugs, we may lose our families or jobs. But we are completely forgiven by God when we repentantly admit our sins to Him.

Why then is it so hard for some of us to just admit our sins to God? He certainly is not surprised by the sin. He knows the sin. His Son died for the sin long before we even committed it. Sometimes I am so full of shame and guilt that I cannot bring myself to admit my sin to God. Like a scared child, I want to hide the “evidence.” Like Adam and Eve, I just want to cover up my wrong. The evil one repeats over and over in our minds, “You are not worthy of His forgiveness. Your sin is too great to be forgiven. God does not care about your kind.” But those are all lies. God loves you very much and wants to forgive you. All He wants is what any parent wants, admittance and repentance. As Jesus said to the adulterous woman, we should "Go and sin no more." Just go; turn away from the sin.

If we were all gathered in an auditorium and I asked, “what sin is not forgiven,” most of you would shout out Matthew 12:31(NIV) And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Are you sure that is the only one? There are many sins that are not forgiven. Do you know them? They are the ones that you never ask God to forgive. Think about that.

Father, search our hearts and help us to pour out our sins to You. Help us to not feel so shameful or so full of guilt that we are unable to talk to You about our sins. Help us to turn away from sin and turn back toward You. In the name of Christ, Who died for ALL our sins, Amen.

David Massey