Marcus Blair, pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church
1 John 3:19-24
The forgiveness we are seeking is found in three areas. First of all, we all need to experience the forgiveness of God.
If you haven’t come into the life of Jesus, you are missing the freedom that comes from knowing your sins are pardoned by God. How wonderful to know! And we have been studying about how God forgives sin, but we’ve also looked into how we can forgive other people.
That’s the second area of forgiveness in your life: once you’ve come to Jesus and been forgiven of your sins, you are then called by Christ to forgive and pardon people, even when they do you wrong.
But there’s a third area of forgiveness and I know some of us desperately need it. It’s hard to get, sometimes. People really can struggle in this area, and we need God’s help to attain it. I’m talking about forgiving yourself.
Some of you are experts at beating yourselves up over the past.
We all have regrets. Some of us regret what we did. Or we regret what we didn’t do. But if you live long enough, you will come to see areas in your life where you messed up, made mistakes. And no one knows your sins like you do. I know that in my own mind, I have deep regrets about how I’ve treated people, and the ungodliness I have embraced and promoted in the past. I’ve made mistakes with my kids that I wish I could undo, and my wife.
Brethren, it is good to be sorry for your sins. In fact, to even receive forgiveness from God, we have to repent. We have to reach a place where we are willing to turn from evil and turn to good. So being regretful about past hurts and sins you’ve committed it not a bad thing. But once God has forgiven you, you are released from that debt. It does not make sense to continue hurting yourself, and doubting yourself, and feeling discouraged, and not having any confidence before the Lord.
I would say over years of ministry I have seen so many people afflicted by the inability to forgive their own sins. Even after accepting Jesus, even after agreeing that their sins are pardoned in the Lord, some folks can’t cut themselves loose from the baggage and bondage of yesterday. Dear ones, that is NOT what God wants for you. He does not want you to be so busy staring at your shoes, feeling sorry for your past, that you miss opportunities to have joy in Jesus today. Regret keeps your eyes on YOU instead of on JESUS, and you miss out on the ministry that God has called you to.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard