A grandmother, tormented by feelings of guilt, wrote to a television minister asking how she could be forgiven for an unnamed sin in her past. This woman of faith had lived an exemplary life and had raised her children on the principles of faith given in the Bible. Now she was doing her best to pass this wonderful gift on to her grandchildren.
In spite of her efforts to do right by her family, however, this grandmother was secretly struggling with guilt feelings prompted by something she had done many years earlier. This sin was, in her mind, not forgiven and its memory haunted her almost every day. At the time she wrote for help, she was considering telling her family the specifics of this break with her moral values, hoping this might finally bring relief.
The counselor assigned to answer this troubled woman sensed that disclosing the details of her past transgression to her family might severely damage her relationship with them. How could he lead her to freedom?
He reviewed the problem, considering the facts she had given to him:
She was, without question, a woman of faith.
She had confessed this sin to the Lord (probably hundreds of times).
What more need she do to be forgiven?
Nothing, he concluded.
According to the Bible, sins that are confessed are immediately forgiven (1 John 1:9).
The counselor's answer to this troubled woman was that since she had met the conditions of forgiveness, she must simply accept the promises that accompany them and be free.
The counselor was correct.
Our feelings may deceive us and keep us in bondage. The truth about God's free forgiveness can set us free, but we must personalize these Biblical promises through faith in order to experience the freedom they're intended to bring.
Martin Luther said it well:
"Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving.
My warrant is the Word of God;
Naught else is worth believing."
Luther had learned to simply accept God's forgiveness by faith. And so must we, if we are to feel forgiven.
Perhaps you can identify with this troubled grandmother who for so long had allowed her unnamed past failure to rob her of the peace she deserved because she had already asked for forgiveness.
How long will you keep on doubting God's love and His guarantee of forgiveness?
Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs.
Relax in God's loveand be free.
Roger Campbell is an author, a columnist and broadcaster who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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