The Promise to Forgive
What has God promised us?
Anybody else remember Driver’s Ed? The classwork was fine, but the part that killed me was the actual driving instruction. I was matched up with two other gals who lived outside town limits. We’d all drive around for an hour or so, with the instructor checking things off on his clipboard.
I was so stressed out. And he made a habit of springing sudden turns on us. This is how I discovered that I can’t tell the difference between right and left—at least not without thinking about it deliberately.
I was so embarrassed.
But I survived. I made it through. All was good. Until the next year when my brother took Driver’s Ed and ended up with the same instructor. When he saw where my brother lived, the first question he asked was: “Hey, do you have a sister who can’t tell right from left?”
Yup. I wanted to climb into a hole for about a year.
Has that ever happened to you? Somebody dredged up something you did or didn’t do and used it to identify you? Or shame you? Or just point out your inadequacies? It’s the worst.
Sometimes I worry that’s how forgiveness works. That God says He forgives us but still remembers how we failed. But that’s not the truth.
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
Look. God promises to forgive us. Period. This is one of the bedrock, foundational promises of Christianity. If you acknowledge your need for a Savior, God will save you. You can’t deserve it. You can’t earn it. It’s a gift you have to accept if you want it.
And when God forgives, He doesn’t hold on to what you’ve done (Psalm 103:12). He doesn’t dig up your past to shame you with it. That’s not how God works.
If you’re tempted to fear that God wants to control you with shame and guilt, remember Who He is. He is faithful and just, and He has promised to forgive you. So if He doesn’t hold your sin against you, why do you want to?
Questions for Reflection:
Have you ever had someone try to manipulate you by reminding you of your failures?
How did that experience change how you view God’s forgiveness?
What would God need to do in order to demonstrate that He can be trusted to forgive you?
Week 50 Memory Verse: