Sometimes my decisions hurt people, and sometimes I hurt myself with my choices. When things go wrong, I sometimes feel so ashamed that I can’t help but wonder: does God forgive everything?
The short answer is yes. God forgave King David after committing murder and adultery. Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of the people who crucified Him, and He forgave Peter for denying Him. In the Old Testament, we see time and time again that God redeemed His people after they strayed from Him and fell into idolatry. God’s divine power means there’s nothing we can do that He can’t forgive.
One of my favorite verses from the Psalms says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” That means once I’ve been forgiven of my sins by God, they can’t touch me. I’m free from that burden.
Why Does it Feel Like I Won’t Be Forgiven?
With so many stories of forgiveness in the Bible, why is it so hard to believe that God will forgive me? Part of the answer lies in the powerful emotions of guilt and shame.
God’s forgiveness is certainly vast, but in order to receive it, I need to seek it. I need to know I’ve made a mistake and desire to set things right. I should feel compelled to change by the knowledge that I’ve done something wrong. But when I become convinced that what I’ve done makes me a terrible person, it’s harder to accept forgiveness, even from God.
If you can relate, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings of shame so they can help you gain perspective. Prayer is also a powerful way to learn to forgive ourselves and to accept God’s forgiveness.
Have You Forgiven Yourself?
One of the biggest reasons I struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness is that I haven’t forgiven myself.
Think of someone you love dearly. Though forgiving them isn’t always easy, you want to forgive them because you love them. You recognize that they’re human.
You know that people you love make mistakes, but you don’t want to hold that against them. You want to restore the relationship. You want them to have the chance to learn and grow in the future.
When it’s hard to believe that God forgives you, remember He loves you and that He thinks you worthy of His love. He wants you to be free from that burden: all you have to do is accept that gift.
The Healing Journey
Forgiving ourselves and healing from our past is not a one-time “Aha!” moment. It’s a process. And accepting God’s forgiveness is a journey we take, one day at a time, as we work to heal from the choices we made that hurt ourselves and others.
You are not alone in this process. We are here to listen and support you as you build your faith and work to better understand forgiveness. If you need help accepting forgiveness, reach out to a prayer partner, or talk to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine today. You have our support no matter what!
Accepting God’s forgiveness is a huge step to healing. Now it’s time to break away from the past shame and guilt you are carrying, to forgive yourself. Find out how to forgive yourself here.
Photo Credit: Scott Warman.