Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Lily Of The Valley"1 (Lyrics)
Have you ever done something that you were ashamed of and felt that you could never be forgiven for? Like most people, I suspect, I have been guilty of things that I'd hate to admit to.
Not everyone has come from a loving, nurturing home, and for those who haven't, it's hard to grasp that God knows us inside and out and yet loves us and wants a relationship with us in spite of our failings and sins. My family of origin was not a supportive one, and because I grew up with a surplus of criticism and little positive reinforcement, "Our Father" was not a name for a loving God that I could relate to. It was a big leap of faith for me to trust that God actually loved me, that He was willing to forgive the sins that I had committed, that He would wash me clean enough to stand before His throne through the blood of Christ, and that all I had to do was come before Him and repent of my sins. It couldn't be that simple, could it? Fortunately, my grandmother was a practicing Christian and was very present in my life. She was my safe place, and although I didn't live with her, I was able to learn from her about how much God loved me.
Ephesians 1:7-8a – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. (NIV)
The impediment that prevents some people from becoming children of God may be that they don't feel adequate, and their sins weigh on them. They believe that God cannot forgive and love bad sinners such as themselves. I was once told an analogy that stuck with me. When we come face to face with Christ to confess our sins, He takes them and tosses them over His shoulder. We can still see our sins behind Him, but He cannot, and they are now truly gone. However, for peace in our spirits, we must also dismiss them as gone. That's the second step in the healing — forgiving ourselves! God's love washes us clean, and we are white as snow.
Isaiah 1:18 – "Come now, let us reason together," 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. (NIV)
Acts 26:17b-18 – I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (NIV)
Only a God who loves us unconditionally would make these promises. He created us in His image and loves us in spite of our sinful nature and wants us to be in fellowship with Him through eternity. Trust Him to forgive you and restore you to a clean slate, as He has promised. Then, you must also let your sinful past go.
Prayer: For the many who have been hurt in this life and don't understand Your unconditional love, Lord, please build them up so that they can trust in You. Help them to know that once they repent of their sins, they are secure in Your love and can have in their lives the peace that passes understanding. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.