Hope you are well. I am sure God is growing us at this time. We are beginning to worship in the wilderness, dance in the desert, open the Word of God, minister to others. Do you remember the series we did on Thursday nights about the gifts of the Spirit; hearing from God, sharing and scripture, and sharing a prophetic word? Well, now it the time to do it! Listen to God on your own. Let him give you are scripture or prophetic word for someone in the church. This is where God wants us to outwork the things we have learnt. Come on guys. I know you can do this. Listen to the Holy Spirit and get on the phone. Your ministry starts right here.
‘I will never forgive myself for that.’
Have you ever said that? We all have.
Of course we regularly mess up. We get cross, annoy people, say negative things. These are sins, but not really big ones. They are wrong but not world-shattering. So, we repent. We say sorry to God and to the people concerned and get clean. And yes, we forgive ourselves. The matter is settled. But, there are some things we have done which were much more serious; terrible things which really hurt people; things which destroyed relationships. We are utterly ashamed and disgusted by these actions. And, they had terrible consequences; some of which are still here. We cannot go back and undo what we did. We cannot change the past. So, we have to live with the guilt and shame. The horrible memories and images live in a filthy corner of our heart and haunt us. We feel guilty and condemned; because we did it. Every step forward we take, every good work we do, every affirming comment we receive, the devil whispers: ‘Ah yes; but look what you did then. Call yourself a Christian? You are guilty.’ The shadow of guilt and shame stalks us. The deed is done. The guilt remains. There is no escape. We just live with it.
But wait. Hold on. That does not have to happen.
In Ephesians 1: 7 we read: ‘In Him we have redemption through his blood. Through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.’ When Jesus’ blood flowed down that cross, the limitless, all-encompassing, unstoppable, all-powerful forgiveness of God flowed as well. It flowed from the heart of God, down the cross, on to the earth, and it covered all sin everywhere, forever. It covered your worst sin. It cast your sin into the sea of forgetfulness. Yes, even that terrible thing you did in the past. In fact, it is as if you had never sinned from God’s point of view; as if it never happened.
‘But Lord it did!’ you say. ‘I did it! I should be punished.’
‘No,’ God says. ‘You may have done it, but Jesus took your punishment; so why are you punishing yourself? Was Jesus’ sacrifice not enough for you?’
You see, God’s forgiveness at the cross does not just sort out the sin. Yes, it breaks the chord that binds us to judgment, but it also releases his great love and life on to the sinner. Forgiveness heals, restores, revives. Forgiveness sets us free from guilt and shame. Forgiveness brings a new start. Do we deserve it? No! Does God do it? Yes.
When a defendant is acquitted in a court of law, then he/she goes free. He/she walks out of that courthouse with no more fear. The person walks out of the door, free; free to breathe the fresh air and start their life again. However, there is still a pending judgement which has to be settled. It is the sentence he/she can impose on themselves, for the wrong he/she did. The same thing applies to us. I can be forgiven but still live in my own prison of guilt and condemnation. The judge sits in my own head and heart. I have God’s forgiveness. The question now is this. Will I forgive myself for what I did?
This is the message of the cross for you today. At the cross you are forgiven. You can be free of guilt and shame. You can clean up that filthy corner of your heart. So, will you take the step today? You have repented of that terrible deed from your past. God has forgiven you. Will you forgive yourself now? Do it! Be free! Come to the cross. Give the guilt and shame back to Jesus. Fall to your knees and take his forgiveness. And then forgive yourself. Cast your sin into the sea of forgetfulness. Do it today. Let this message of the cross set you free. For ‘If the Son of man sets you free, you shall be free indeed.’
Let’s pray. ‘Lord Jesus, I thank you for the cross. I believe on that cross I was forgiven. Today I come to the cross. I confess that sin once and for all. I believe that Jesus paid for it and carried it away on the cross. So right now, I cast the sin and the guilt on to Jesus. I forgive myself and receive his love. I receive his healing and restoration. I am a child of God and by his blood I have forgiveness.’
Today ….. you ….. walk ….. free.
That is the power of the cross.
Today pray for those who cannot forgive themselves for something they have done. Ask the Lord to reveal the message of the cross to them.