“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Forgiveness is a tough subject to wrap my head around. As a Christian, I do have an understanding that I am forgiven, but what does that really mean for us?
Well, we first have to understand the system that we are privileged to be a part of. God sent His son, Jesus, to save us from our sins and this world. Jesus is our way out and makes it possible for us to receive forgiveness. That price has already been paid, and we cannot do anything to separate ourselves from this truth.
Our mistakes and weaknesses are accepted because Jesus fills in the gaps. Our only role in this process is to confess our sins. The verse above tells us that if we confess, He will forgive us and cleanse us. So, we can reach out to God for help, and He promises to not only help us but to make our wrongs right, forgive us for committing the wrongs, and wipe them away. Because of Jesus, we have a way out and a clean slate.
It is also important for us, as believers, to extend forgiveness to others, modeling the process that God so perfectly orchestrates for us. This is a hard concept to grasp as well. Many times, it doesn’t feel good to forgive.
A person may have said an unkind thing to us or about us, made up a rumor about us, or acted in a mean way towards us. Why would we want to extend kindness to them or “let go” of the anger or pain that we feel inside? Forgiveness is a process. It is something that we do not have the power to do without Jesus.
This is another way that He can fill in the gap for us. We can make a choice to forgive because we are forgiven, but our first step is to ask God for help, confess to Him our need for His grace and mercy towards this or that person. We can start the process, give ourselves time to heal or adjust our role in the hurtful relationship, and let God do the rest. If we wallow in the frustration and do not start this forgiveness process, we hurt ourselves not the other person. God wants us to experience the freedom that only He can give.
Take away: Take a moment to confess to God your wrongs, giving Him a chance to cleanse your mind and heart and giving you a chance to start over. Extend forgiveness to others and accept it for yourself.