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Forgiveness can be hard. I wonder if Satan uses it to discourage the hearts of faithful Christians. You may find it difficult to forgive someone who has hurt you. (If you’re struggling with that, see the Bible-marking topic entitled “Forgiveness.”) Or perhaps you’re having a hard time believing that God has truly forgiven you for something you’ve done. Maybe you were the one who did the hurting and the consequences were great. Have you experienced any of the following?
- Even though you’ve repented, you still feel the weight of your guilt.
- When something goes wrong, you can’t help but wonder if God is punishing you in some way.
- If someone compliments you, you feel like a hypocrite because you know what you’ve done.
- Your feelings of unworthiness keep you from serving in some capacity.
- Even though you know intellectually that God has forgiven you, you’re having a hard time emotionally letting it go.
- You’re having a hard time allowing yourself to experience joy.
Oh yes, Satan knows how to kill your spirit through this area of forgiveness. He doesn’t want you to embrace God’s grace. He wants you to forget that God’s forgiveness is meant to set you free! God wants you to believe Him when He says He has forgiven you. He wants you, dear Christian, to know that your worth is found in the cleansing (purifying!) blood of His Son. For those times when you are wracked with guilt, here are some verses that will refresh your heart.
In the front of your Bible, write: God’s Forgiveness- Psa. 32:1-2,5
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity…I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.
Circle “transgression” (v. 1,5), “sin” (v. 1,5), and “iniquity” (v. 2,5). Underline “forgiven” (v. 1), “covered” (v. 1), “impute” (v. 2), and “forgave” (v. 5). In the margin next to “impute,” write “count against you; think of.” David understands the blessedness of God’s forgiveness! The word “impute” here literally means “to hold in high regard.” God doesn’t give any more thought to forgiven sin! We may hang on to it, think of it, and make a big deal out of it. But God says, “It’s covered. I don’t even think about it.” This isn’t just an Old Testament thought. The apostle Paul was inspired to repeat these words! In the margin, write “(see also Rom. 4:7-8).” At the end of verse five, write Psa. 86:5.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.
Underline “ready to forgive.” Remember God’s character. He doesn’t forgive grudgingly. He’s good. His mercy is abundant. He longs to forgive. At the end of the verse, write 103:10-12.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Circle “sins,” “iniquities,” and “transgressions.” Underline “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Are your mistakes never far from your thoughts? Look how far God has removed them from you! At the end of verse 12, write Isa. 38:17.
Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
Circle “sins.” Underline “You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” Let these words of Hezekiah impress upon your heart. At the end of the verse, write 43:25.
I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember Your sins.
Circle “transgressions” and “sins.” Underline “wipes out” and “I will not remember.” God does not remember your sins. When God says something, He means it. In the margin write “(see also Jer. 31:34 and Heb. 8:12; 10:17). At the end of the verse, write 44:22.
I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist…
Circle “transgressions” and “sins.” Underline this entire statement. Don’t you love this imagery? At the end of the verse, write Mic. 7:18-19.
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Circle “iniquity,” “iniquities,” and “sins.” Underline “pardons,” “tread our iniquities under foot,” and “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” See how His character leads to complete forgiveness? “He delights in unchanging love.” How different from the message Satan wants us to believe! God’s compassion moves Him to stomp on our mistakes until they’re obliterated and throw them into the deepest part of the sea where they will never be found. At the end of verse 19, write 1 John 1:7,9.
But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Circle “sin” (v. 7) and both occurrences of “sins” (v. 9). Underline “cleanses us” and “forgive us” and “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse points out that Christians will stumble. Confess and keep walking in the Light. Draw a square around both occurrences of “all.” This includes your “big” mistakes. You can trust your faithful God to cleanse it all away!
God has told us multiple times in the Old Testament and in the New that He will not remember our sins. He has given plenty of wonderful visuals so we may truly grasp once and for all how He feels about our past. If you’re really having a hard time, run through these verses and make a list of everything God has said He will do with your sins. And when self-defeating thoughts plague you, replace them with the imagery of God wiping your mistakes away, tromping them under His foot, or casting them into the sea.
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