But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)
When we confess our sin, God always forgives us. Even people we have sinned against will sometimes forgive us, but the real problem may be forgiving ourselves.
There is an incident in my life that I chronicle in my book “Broken Vessels.” I said something very hurtful that my daughter overheard. God forgave me as soon as I asked—my daughter almost as soon—but forgiving myself has been a process.
Some of you reading this devotional, like me, have said or done things you regret. You may have hurt others very deeply. You wish you had a rewind button on your life—where you can go back to your transgression, delete it and record it with the proper action or response. Unfortunately, life is not like that. You cannot rewrite history.
Hurting people hurt others, but that is no excuse for our actions. All we can do is repent and take responsibility for our actions and live our lives openly before God and man. Transparency can help others never to make the mistake we made. In this way, even flaws in our character can be redemptive.
Our scriptural reference tells us that if we ask, God forgives us. Should we not do likewise for ourselves. God has the ability to forget sin, we don’t, and that is not always bad. It reminds us never to do it again. Nevertheless, morbid guilt is never productive. Christ died to take away our shame and guilt; holding onto them can be unbelief and a slap in the face of God.
The image is used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing