Grief over our sin is a good thing—and a necessary one—but can we take it too far?
No one comes to salvation without first acknowledging his or her sin. After all, if you don’t think you’ve sinned, what do you need a savior for? However, an honest acceptance of the fact that you’ve sinned puts you in a position to see what Christ has done to free you from that sin. With His death as your substitute, He takes away your sin and forgives you. He gives you a new life, freed from your past.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
As followers of Jesus, we still falter and sin. And when we realize we sinned again, we confess it.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
We confess and turn from that sin because our hearts have been changed. We don’t want to sin; we want to be more like Christ. And as 1 John 1:9 declares, when we confess, our sin is dealt with. Right then and there.
It’s ours. We can bank on it.
Unfortunately, too many of us continue to dwell on our sin and failure. We beat ourselves up. It’s not that God doesn’t forgive us; we have a hard time forgiving ourselves.
You say you’re a Christian, but then you go and do that.
How can you say you love Jesus when you talk like that?!
We preach at ourselves with a barrage of scoldings—and we often transfer those feelings to God.
How can God forgive me when I keep coming to Him again and again with the same failure?
To expose yourself to a continuous onslaught of self-condemnation calls God’s forgiveness into question. It shows a lack of trust in God. He has promised His grace and forgiveness, and to wallow in unforgiveness is unbelief in the promises of God.
Oh, great, that’s another sin I need to deal with.
When God forgives, He forgives. Period. Consider the lengths He went to forgive you: a cruel, torturous death in a Roman crucifixion. All so He could remove your sin. We will never fully understand “the length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Eph. 3:18), and He desires to forgive us far more than we want to be forgiven.
Parents don’t scold the infant who repeatedly falls as he is learning to walk. Dad picks Junior up and applauds his efforts to start walking again. God’s desire—His will for you—is to forgive, put you on your feet, and get you moving forward.
Since God fully forgives you, should you do any less? If you gave your sin to God and sought His forgiveness, then let that sin go. Grieve and confess, but then rejoice that, in spite of failure, God loves you and seeks your best.
“If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?” (Rom. 8:31-33).
So, Christian, stop being against yourself! When it comes to your sin and failure, own up to it. Let your grief lead to confession, and know that your confession leads to forgiveness and cleansing. And finally just accept that: you are forgiven—and that’s that!
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vv. 38-39).
Not even your sin and failure will keep you from God’s love. So instead of wallowing in defeat and self-condemnation, wallow in the love of God.
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