Have you ever wanted forgiveness from someone and they refused even after the most genuine apology?
I had a dear friend who I was close with for a large part of my life. She has the biggest heart. Along with that comes it's downfalls. My friend easily felt crossed when someone disagreed with her. And when the disagreements would come, another friend would go. And another. And another. There was no option for I'm sorry's. Once you crossed her heart, there was no going back. Forgiveness was not a word in her vocabulary. Our friendship felt like walking on eggshells as I watched the circle grow smaller and smaller.
The day came when it was my turn. I waited for a response after a touchy conversation. Nothing. Much time has passed and still nothing. My heart still hurts at the memory. The fact I can't change her mind still hurts. Being denied forgiveness for the no-win situation cuts deep.
God does not work the way we do. We serve a God who will always reserve forgiveness for us if we seek it. Notice the first word in 1 John 1:9...if. If takes action on our part. If literally means "in the event that...". In the case of God's forgiveness, He always offers it in the event that we confess. No if's, and's, or but's about it.
Confessing our sins may seem a little scary, maybe a lot intimidating. It doesn't have to be though. Confessing our sins to God when broken down is really a conversation between you and Him. The more you do it, the easier it gets. The more you do it, the more freedom you discover. Confession is not a burden we should carry, rather a weight lifted from our souls. Once we get that weight lifted off our chest and give it to God, it's gone. We no longer have to carry it anymore. Period. Once we hand it over to God, He erases our wrongdoing forever.
We may have the habit of old wrongs resurfacing. It's hard to let go of those big mistakes we make. We may even tell God over and over again how sorry we are for the same sin. Just know that you don't have to. Once that mistake is handed over with a genuine heart, so should the weight be.
None of us will live a sinless life. No matter how hard we try we will say something we shouldn't or do something we regret. The sooner we figure out confession leads to forgiveness, the sooner we experience the true freedom and peace Jesus wants us to live in. Our goal should not be perfection, but rather to be aware when we get that stirring feeling inside. That warning sign from the Holy Spirit to hold back on whatever is on our mind to avoid the sin we are about to commit.
Just because we always have God's forgiveness at hand does not mean we should repeat the same sins over and over knowing He will forgive if we ask. Would that be genuine? The closer relationship we have with God, the more aware we become of His Holy Spirit. Allow the Spirit to work in you for your behalf. Wouldn't we be grateful if His guidance stops us from sinning? Just like a stop sign holds us back from driving into oncoming traffic, so does the Holy Spirit stop us from sinning if we are aware of His presence.
Jesus covers our sin from the past, present, and every sin we will commit in the future. He made the ultimate choice to carry our sins away when His wounds bled for us on the cross. He chose the cross before you and I were even thinking about sinning. He chose the cross to take those sins away long before they were even a thought in our minds or word on our lips. He washes our slate clean if we will be humble enough to hand them over. Yes, it really is that simple. God's forgiveness is always available for us because of Jesus's blood on that cross.
The best way to always be prepared is to be grounded in the Truth. If you need a reminder of God's Truth, here are some verses to come back to when forgiveness is on your heart.
Luke 23:34 - "Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots."
Psalm 32:5 - "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord." And you forgave the guilt of my sin."
Mark 11:25 - "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
Proverbs 28:13 - "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
Luke 6:37- "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven."
Colossians 3:13 - "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."
Mathew 18:21-22 -"Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."
Jeremiah 31:34 - "No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the Lord. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."