“Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don't hang your head in shame.” (Proverbs 4:25 TEV)
You don't need to walk around carrying a load of guilt. The Apostle Paul says, “Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us ‘not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins” (Romans 3:23-24 TLB).
God wants to forgive you. Imagine a giant blackboard with all of your sins written across it; God comes along with a giant eraser and erases it all. It's like an Etch A Sketch: You turn it upside down, shake it, turn it back up, and the slate is clean. God’s forgiveness is the same way, and that's good news, isn't it?
But we need to accept God's forgiveness. We may know about God's forgiveness intellectually, but we have to believe it, deep down inside, accepting in faith that it is true — because it is!
One thing that often blocks us from accepting forgiveness from God is that we are unable to forgive ourselves. You need to forgive yourself for your past failures and sins, for the habits and hang-ups that led you to sin. Forgive yourself! God teaches us, “Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don't hang your head in shame” (Proverbs 4:25 TEV).
Have you ever committed a sin and asked God to forgive you, and even though you know he's forgiven you, you still feel lousy? What do you do in that situation? Do you go back and ask him to forgive you again? Do you confess it over and over again?
No. You only have to confess a sin one time, and it's forgiven. But you may have to forgive yourself a hundred times and say it over and over until it sinks in: "God's forgiven me. It's over.”
Still, we want to keep reminding God of things he's already forgotten. Someone once asked Eleanor Roosevelt, “How did you accomplish so much with your life?” She responded, “I never waste time with regrets.”
Don’t waste time with your regrets. Accept God's forgiveness, and forgive yourself.
Talk About It
What is it that you need to forgive yourself for today?
Do you ever picture God keeping track of all your wrongs? How does that affect your ability to accept his forgiveness?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.