Forgiveness has transformed my life…not merely the amazing gift of forgiveness that God has extended to me through the cross because of Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of my sins, but in the ongoing provision and power that I have experienced.
I will share more about some of this when we study chapter 20 in the Thin Within book by Arthur and Judy Halliday this week, but today, I focus a bit more on the principles at the heart of chapter 19.
My 17 year old son, Daniel, has an extremely tender conscience. He frequently asks others for forgiveness (a good thing, certainly)…to a point where I have felt the need to caution him to really evaluate if it is the accusing voice of the Enemy that insists he needs to do this or the comforting, yet convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. (Some of what he asks forgiveness for is hard to really grasp, as it seems so trivial outwardly.)
The last time we discussed this, he confessed that he has a hard time believing that God forgives him for the many things he has done wrong and continues to do wrong.
I realized that this is so often the case for me–for us as humans.
I think we tend to believe we can “out sin” the grace of God! But the fact is, the forgiveness that God extends to me, to you, to my precious son, is boundless. It is endless and His Word speaks to this. Many of us know 1 John 1:9, but let’s have a closer look at it today:
he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins
and purify us
from all unrighteousness.
But let’s not stop there…HIS FAITHFULNESS and HIS JUSTICE require that when we do confess, He purifies us from all unrighteousness.
This isn’t about me convincing him that I deserve to be forgiven! This isn’t about me proving that I am sorry. This is about HIS CHARACTER. The character of God, Who He Is requires some things…payment for sin is one of them because He is Holy, but in light of that perfect, complete payment for our sins (in Jesus) which the Father has provided and deemed sufficient, when we DO confess He has promised to forgive and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.
If you confess, you then stand before him PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS, cleansed.
Do you believe Him? Do I?
so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21
I ask again: Do you believe Him? Do I?
I apologize if my redundancy is tiresome, but let me explain why this is so important to being healed of eating disorders, whether overeating, bulimia, anorexia, an unhealthy body image, and all of the many things that plagues so many of us.
If we don’t believe that God forgives us in Christ, we tend to take our insistence that we haven’t “made the mark” as a badge of shame. Shame perpetuates the cycle of addiction and sin. Truly, there is NO way to escape when we are entrenched in shame.
Embracing–believing–that God has forgiven me RIGHT NOW, no matter how many times I have repeated the same offense, blows the door off the prison cell. In fact, I would be willing to guess (from my own experience with myself and others) that if we struggle with the same sin again and again, no matter what it is, it could be that, at the heart, is a belief that even when we have confessed before, we aren’t really forgiven.
If not that, then it is a refusal to forgive ourselves.
Who do we really feel we are? Rotten, no good sinners? Or saints, saved by God’s amazing grace who struggle with our flesh to surrender to God and not to sin? What we believe about ourselves will most assuredly affect how we behave.
When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are claiming that Christ’s torture, death and resurrection were not sufficient. We claim to have a higher standard than God! This is a lie and slams God’s character! He says in 1 John 1:9 that He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness!
Let us choose NOT to embrace shame, but let us confess our sins…ask God to show them all to us and go through them one by one and then confess just as strongly:
you see me as holy and righteous in your sight.
You have forgiven me.
I stand as one cleansed of
ALL unrighteousness right now.”
If you haven’t yet worked through the material in chapter 19, please don’t skip it. Sequester yourself away where you won’t be interrupted and beg God to help you believe Him–that He forgives you and cleanses you of ALL unrighteousness. Then ask Him to help you to forgive yourself very specifically for anything that you think you may yet be resenting yourself for.
This is vital.
And please don’t assume this is a once for all process. We need to practice this daily…when I have a moment where I have given in to indiscretion, given way to my flesh, I quickly (without letting any time go by) confess again…both my sin and my praise and knowledge that as I confess, God forgives me and cleanses me.
This is the way we are to walk…applying His grace in the present moment…the power, pardon and provision for all that we need to believe that we have been redeemed and we are being sanctified!