by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 ESV
I’ve never forgotten meeting a woman (I’ll call Carrie) at a women’s retreat where I was speaking. I had shared at the Friday evening session how God delivered me from being a child abuser. During Saturday afternoon free time, I enjoyed visiting individually with many of the women. Carrie came into my room looking fearful. After this attractive thirty-something woman sat down, I asked what was on her heart.
“Kathy, when I heard you share about being a child abuser, I knew you were the one I could talk to.” Carrie looked down and her face turned pale.
“You see, I’ve done something as bad as that, and I haven’t been able to tell anyone. But when I heard you, I figured you were the one.”
She glanced up at me quickly and then again averted her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she whispered, “I had an affair with my husband’s best friend.” After pausing, she rushed on. “My husband has forgiven me, but I cannot seem to really believe God can forgive me. I keep asking Him to forgive me. I tell Him over and over again that I’m sorry, but I never feel forgiven.”
I expressed my appreciation for Carrie’s willingness to be vulnerable, and we talked for a few minutes about forgiveness being a decision, not a feeling. Soon, it was as if a burden had been removed from her shoulders. She could look me straight in the eye, and she sat up taller. Confessing her sin to someone else seemed to relieve her of her pain.
We prayed together, and I took her through a process of asking God to forgive her and help her to receive God’s forgiveness. I sensed God was working an incredible healing in her heart.
When the next woman knocked at my door to indicate Carrie’s time had concluded, she gave me a quick hug, snatched up her Bible and cup of tea, and hurried out the door smiling. After the evening session, she thrust a piece of paper into my hand. “Thanks,” she whispered. Later in my room, I read what Carrie had written.
“Kathy, after speaking with you, I went down to the river to pray. I told God that for the last time I was going to ask for His forgiveness, and then let it go. Then I did a sort of ceremony. I took the cup of tea I was drinking and said, ‘Jesus, this tea represents my sin, and this river represents you.’ Then I threw the rest of my tea into the river. And you know what I noticed? The tea was immediately washed away. There wasn’t a trace of it anywhere. Isn’t Jesus wonderful?”
I was thrilled to read about Carrie’s new-found freedom from guilt.
If you are holding yourself captive because you cannot receive God’s forgiveness for some past sin, God wants you to know that you can drop your sin into the river of His forgiveness and grace. His love is sufficient, and He guarantees the stain will be washed away because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. He wants you to have confidence that nothing can prevent His forgiveness from applying to you.
This book is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to share with others the many ways God shows His love for them. She is an internationally traveled speaker and an award-winning author of 58 books, including Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. She and her high school sweetheart, Larry, have been married over 50 years and often write and speak together. They are parents of two, grandparents of two, and live in Boise, Idaho. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Join the conversation: Have you struggled to forgive yourself even when knowing God has forgiven you?