by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin
I listened to Jean cry as she told me she could never forgive herself for committing what she believed was an “unforgiveable” sin.
It’s one thing when pain happens to us. It’s another thing when something we do—or fail to do—results in our pain or someone else’s. We tend to put that pain in the category of something that for which God will never heal us or forgive us.
Yet, as I explained to Jean, Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to heal the very deepest of wounds– even the self-inflicted ones.
If you’re holding onto something and continuing to grieve over it, thinking you are showing God that you really are sorry for your actions, hoping that this might somehow make up for your wrongdoing, be assured that God doesn’t need all of that. The reason Jesus had to die for us is because we are incapable of appeasing God on our own efforts… or with our penitence. If you believe God could never forgive you, or if you are struggling to forgive yourself for something in your past, remember these three things:
- God hears the cries of the brokenhearted. The Scriptures are full of stories of people who blew it and then cried out to God from a broken heart and were healed and restored. Tell God you need His love and forgiveness. Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV)
- God forgives, heals, and purifies. First John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV). Notice the verse says He will purify us of “all” unrighteousness — even the acts we believe are unforgiveable.
- You can hide IN God, not FROM Him. In Psalm 32 (NIV), King David wrote: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (verses 3-5). Then, two verses later, David was able to say to God: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (verse 7). While David started out hiding from God because of his sin, he ended up hiding himself in God. Once you tell God all that’s on your heart, you will find He is a refuge for you—one to run to and not from.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 NIV
About the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, certified writing coach, and author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, from which this devotional is adapted. For more on her books and free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com
Join the conversation: Has a confession ever set you free from your guilt?