. . . But We Get Up

“A saint is just a sinner who fell down …
… and got up”
– Donnie McClurkin

In the companion piece to this one, “We Fall Down . . .”, we took a good, long look at our mistakes and we found out the lessons that we could learn from them. Now, we move from learning to healing as we take a good, long look at forgiveness.

By God

It’s almost too easy. 1 John 1:19 says, “if we confess our sins, then He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s it. No walking through fire or waging war. No tests of endurance or obstacle courses of faith. Just confession and acknowledgement that we have sinned and a desire to restore the relationship with the one we sinned against.

It’s amazing how we tell our children to apologize when they’ve hurt someone, and that their apology makes it all better. The kids usually respond with smiles – eager to continue playing with the one they hurt just a few moments ago. And, also amazing, the other always plays back. But when we hurt God, we slink away from Him, afraid to say “I’m sorry.” Afraid that it won’t be enough.

God says ” I am the one who will blot out your transgressions and remember your sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) And the price – a deep, sincere and life-changing apology, to which He responds “a contrite heart I will in no way cast out.” (Psalms 51:17)

Do you need to be forgiven by God? Ask, and you shall receive.

Of Others

Jesus told us to pray that our sins would be forgiven – but He also had a request. His word to us was to ask God to forgive us as we forgave others. He even went so far as to say that if we didn’t forgive others, then God would not forgive us. (Matthew 6:15) To Jesus, our forgiveness of others was so important that He even put it above sacrifice, implying that even our sacrifices to God are tainted because of our unforgiveness toward each other.

Is God playing a tit-for-tat game with grace? Of course not. But for us to accept forgiveness and then deny it to others is evil. In our human nature, we would probably want to hurt or wrong others as we have been hurt or wronged. In the same way, we should eagerly forgive others as we have been forgiven.

Of Ourselves

There is someone in your life whom God has forgiven – but you have not.
God doesn’t remember their sins anymore – but you won’t let them forget.
God says they aren’t condemned – but you constantly make them feel guilty.
God says “my grace is sufficient” (2 Cor 12:9) – but you can’t make them pay enough.

Who is the person you’re doing this to?
Take a good look in the mirror – it’s you.

Like the wayward minister in The Scarlet Letter who beats himself with a whip, we berate ourselves with our thoughts and punish ourselves with self-sabotage. We think that it’s a sign of humility to consider ourselves so low, but it’s actually a symbol of pride. “Now, wait just a minute,” you say, “pride is thinking of yourself too highly.” Well, what would you call it when you choose your own condemnation over God’s grace?

If you have asked, then you have been forgiven. God’s word is that “there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and that “he whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Believe it.
Walk it.
Live it.
It’s done.

Last 5 posts by Katryna Starks

Comments

  1. Jenny says:

    Good reminder. I am reading Total Forgiveness right now by RT Kendall. An excellent book on the scriptural imperative of forgiving others.

  2. Alex says:

    Really good article! I love the quote by Donnie McClurkin “A saint is just a sinner who fell down …… and got up”. I will definitely be using that in the future. It’s important for us to remember that we all sin, but if we truly ask God for forgiveness, the slate is wiped clean and there is no need for us to feel guilty anymore.

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