Forgiveness

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free....--Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

I remember the night when I poured my heart out to the Lord.

Yes, I remember clearly. There I was, a filthy rag, guilty of my sins, deserving nothing less but punishment. I remember how my tears literally soaked my pillows, creating moist imprints that would disappear the morning after.

There was pain in my throat as I cried out to God for mercy. "Forgive me," I pleaded. But at the back of my mind, I knew I did not deserve what I was asking for. I offended my Lord and my God. When I sinned, it was as if I spat on His face shamelessly.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

These words gave me courage to come to my Father that night. I confessed my sins to Him. I trusted in His faithfulness. He would forgive me not because I deserved it, but because He is merciful and loving.

Months later, I still find myself sinning against God, repeating the same sins I've already confessed. There are times when I'd cry out, like Paul, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death!" (Romans 7:24).

But I rejoice in the Lord, the God of my salvation, for He is merciful. His grace is abounding, immeasurable, unfathomable....

"For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:11-12)

Instead of backsliding or fleeing away from God's presence, it is best to come to God immediately the moment we sin. Let's not hesitate to do so. We will not be treated harshly; we will not be punished. Instead, we will be disciplined, as a good father does to his children (Hebrews 12:7). It is painful, yes, but it will yield the "peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11).

Let us saturate our minds with God's word, so that the devil can't get through. Let us offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him (Romans 12:1). Let us live passionate lives that ultimately glorify Him and make His name attractive to those who do not know Him personally.

When we do so, we will find freedom, and with it, the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

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