I wish you could sit with me for one day and read the emails that come to my inbox. Some rip my heart out. Such was the case with the one I’m going to share with you today. This dear sister has graciously granted me permission to share it. This blog is a bit long, but I really want you to to get it. I want to get it.
I just read one of your devotions on receiving grace and forgiveness. You mentioned a woman who had an affair and destroyed her marriage. You mentioned how she refused to forgive herself. That really touched me because, you see, eight years ago I had an affair, got pregnant, and had an abortion. That is the first time I ever actually put those words in writing. I can barely look at what I just typed on the screen.
My marriage was terrible. My husband never paid any attention to me and we argued all the time. And then a man at work began telling me how pretty I was and how good I smelled. It felt good to be noticed. I knew it was wrong, but I slept with him, and not just once.
Somehow, I managed to hide it from my kids and my husband. I even went to church on Sundays, but this sin was eating me alive. No one knew. One day, the stick turned blue. I was pregnant. In order to hide the sin, I had an abortion. I didn’t even tell the baby’s father. Sin upon sin. I was sin sick and hated myself.
Not too long after that horrible day, I did turn back to God. I confessed my sin, truly repented, but I’ve never felt clean. That was eight years ago and I still can’t let go. I wish I could go back and change things. I would willingly give my life to bring this child back. And while I know what the Bible says, that God will forgive us if we confess our sins, I just have a hard time believing it. How could I have done this? How could He forgive me?
I was a Christian when I had the affair and abortion. I was far from Him at the time, but I did know what I was doing was wrong. My eyes were wide open. I think this is why it is so hard for me to accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes, grace just doesn’t make sense. The enemy tells me I’m no good. I think the Holy Spirit is trying to speak to me, but I am having a hard time believing.
How can I forgive myself?
This email comes to me hundreds of times every year. The names are different, the situations are varied, but the underlying theme is the same…I can’t forgive myself. Grace just doesn’t make sense. I don’t deserve to be forgiven.
And these women are right…grace doesn’t make earthly sense. We don’t deserve it. We keep reliving the Garden story, believing Satan’s lie, and then grace shows up with an outstretched hand. “I don’t deserve it,” we cry. And we’re right.
Grace, by its very definition, is unmerited favor from God or a gift we don’t deserve. But until we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, Satan will hold us in the vise grip of guilt, and we’ll miss moments of sudden glory as we hide in Eden’s bushes of shame.
God calls out, “Where are you?”
No matter what you have done, God has made a way for you to be set free – a very costly toll has been paid for the road to your restoration. Jesus gave His life that you might have not only eternal life after physical death, but life filled with moments of sudden glory beginning at your spiritual birth.
I in no way want to diminish the seriousness of sin. Neither do I want to lessen the truth of grace. Refusal of the Christian to repent and dogged determination to continue a lifestyle of sin, spits in the face of what Christ did on the cross. Unconfessed sin draws the shade on God’s glory gifts. Confession and repentance raises the curtain once again for God’s glory to shine through.
When we say, “but I don’t feel forgiven,” that is like saying that what Jesus did on the cross is not enough. Why should we require more from ourselves than our Creator requires of us?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….” (Romans 8:1). None. God’s grace river washes away the devil dams of shame and condemnation that block the glory life flow.
If you are feeling condemnation for past sins that you have already asked God to forgive, that condemnation is not coming from God. Once you have repented and asked God to forgive you, it is finished, over and done with, wiped away.
If feelings of condemnation persist, they are a result of listening to the accusations of the enemy as he tries to keep you behind those bushes and away from union and communion with God. Believe the truth. Walk in the truth and it will lead you to moments of sudden glory all around.
[tweetherder]Satan knows that the slightest whisper of guilt is easily received by a fragile heart plundered by life.[/tweetherder] Do not let him convince you to remain in hiding. If you have been crouching in Eden’s bushes of shame, listen closely. That sound you hear is God walking your way. Whispering your name. Do you hear it? Singing love songs of grace. Inviting you to stroll with Him in the garden of your heart where He has taken up permanent residence.
Where are you? I want to commune with you? I want to show you glimpses of glory.
I hope you will say with me…Here I am Lord.
Leave a comment and let’s answer God’s invitation to intimacy together.