Listen to this devotional:
Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV)
Many years ago, when I was a young, inexperienced seminarian, my path crossed that of a woman who was consumed by guilt. Seeing my clergy collar, she wailed, "God may forgive you, but never me, never me, never me…" Her loud lament trailed off to mere whimpering tears.
I tried gently to share with her that God does forgive, that God loves us more than we can possibly imagine. She raised her tear-stained face to mine, a modicum of peace beginning to dawn in her red-rimmed and dark-encircled eyes, but she had to leave for an appointment before we reached a point of resolution. So, I silently prayed for her.
Through Jesus, God's offer of forgiveness comes to us while we are still trapped. God tells us so through Paul:
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV)
The concrete proof of God's love is Jesus Christ. God's chain cleaver, called Christ, sets us free. But it is so hard to forgive ourselves, so easy to lose hope. Even when we know God has forgiven us, we continue to mull over our own failings, convincing ourselves that God cannot possibly love us enough to forgive us. But the antidote to our low self-opinion is laid out clearly for us by Paul:
Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
Nothing, but nothing, can come between us. There is no force in the heavens above nor on the earth below which can sever that tie — especially not the sins which so beset us, because Jesus took them upon Himself on Calvary. Thus, we can cling to certain hope in Christ, for we are set free!
Prayer: Loving God, in Christ Jesus, You offer us freedom from the sins that so beset us. Thank You for such wonderful freedom. Enable us, Lord, to accept that freedom without doubting Your love. Help us to have faith that we are ever in Your care, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.