July 15, 2019
Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:1; It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
So much of the rhetoric around forgiveness is about forgiving others, but what do you do when the person you need to forgive is you?
Most of us struggle with the paradox of forgiveness. We want to experience it, but certain we don’t deserve it. Nevertheless, redemption is the foundation of our faith. And it is built upon the rock of Jesus, the God-man who took every sin upon Himself to bring us into a place of freedom.
Even so, why do we continue to battle the dual nature of flesh and spirit? We believe we are forgiven. Even know we are forgiven. And yet, we continue beating ourselves up for our humanity by taking up our cross of shame and carrying it like it’s our job.
Simply stated, it’s the shame we experience as a result of guilt that shackles us in unforgiveness. Although most of us believe we are forgiven, we are unable to consistently appropriate it to our places of guilt. The keyword here is—consistently—as some sins are harder to forgive than others.
Regardless of the guilt we grapple with, our charge is to accept our humanness and at the same time celebrate God’s supremacy. Hence, Grace! The challenge is to learn to live forgiven. But how?
Learning how to live forgiven takes a consistent and conscious effort to acknowledge our sin and bear the weight of it only long enough to receive what Jesus did on the cross to free us. The twelve-step program has a saying, “You are only as sick as your secrets”. Although this is an adage known well by those in recovery, it serves us in this context too.
Freedom through forgiveness is experienced when we come out of hiding. All too often, we hide behind our fear. Our shame. Our secret sins. Big ones. Little ones. And the ones we’ve tried to forgive but can’t.
Walking through our days under the heavy weight of sin is a form of slavery. It affects everything we say, do, feel, and portray to the world around us. It deadens our hearts to the prompting of the Spirit and grieves the One who died to free us.
This is the harsh truth—Christ died for us, but if we reject His forgiveness, there is no other sacrifice for sin.
Fully surrendering to the process takes faith. You must believe in the finished work of our Savior. But if you feel like you don’t have enough faith to live in the confidence of the Lord’s forgiveness, ask Him for it. Forgiveness is a priceless gift. One in which we have no part in but to accept and apply it.
Are you struggling to apply the gift of forgiveness in some area of your life? If so, bend your knees at the foot of the cross and look upward. There you will find the One who loves you looking back and offering you the opportunity to live forgiven.
Prayer: LORD, all too often I get stuck in my own humanness. Teach me how to accept your sacrifice and find the freedom to live forgiven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed. Be forgiven. And live free.