When we can’t bring ourselves to forgive someone, we pray, mediate on God’s word and remind ourselves that if God could forgive us for all of our sins, then we must forgive those who sin against us. By doing all of these things we demonstrate a great belief in forgiveness, but when it comes to our own sins we’re not always so sure about it.
At times, we wonder whether the sin we’ve committed is too big for God to forgive or whether we’ve done wrong too often. This guilt has a damaging impact on our relationship with Him – we misinterpret His character and unintentionally frame Him as an ungenerous God, and it skews and limits the biblical definition of forgiveness.
None of us would deny that remorse is a part of the forgiveness process. Without it we wouldn’t even reach the point where we felt as though we needed to ask God to forgive us, we wouldn’t be motivated to take steps to avoid committing the sin in future and we wouldn’t recognise the destructive nature sin can have on our lives. However, although we should continue to confess and return to God for forgiveness, we don’t need to continually condemn ourselves for our past mistakes once we have done because God’s forgiveness renews us and removes it.
If we believe in a just and loving God, we have to accept that he will forgive. And that forgiveness doesn’t just apply to other people, but to us too.
If you’re going through a period of doubting whether God can really forgive you for a sin that you’re incredibly ashamed of, let these Bible verses refresh your memory of the nature of his forgiveness and how accessible it is to each and every one of us.
Psalm 32:1-2 – Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Corinthians 5:18-19 – All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Isaiah 43:25 – I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
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