A woman came to me and told me she had previously been unfaithful to her husband. Another told me she had an abortion, and yet another told me she had been intimate with many men. All of these actions took place before these women were Christians and yet all of these women struggled with remaining guilt and shame. None of them said they experienced freedom in their Christian lives, and they all said they felt used, dirty and damaged.
Such is the state of our world. In this generation of “free love” and “easy sex” we find things are not so easy, and all these things have a price to be paid.
I hear them each tell me that they cannot forgive themselves these past indiscretions, and in the case of the woman who aborted her child, she says she cannot forgive herself of killing the child.
All the women are church going women who hide behind a mask of fear of being exposed. They fear someone, anyone finding out who they are and what they have done so they isolate. They may attend your Bible study or small group or prayer circle but let me assure you, they are very alone, trapped in a secret world of pain.
They do penance of various kinds, wrongly thinking that some sort of restitution is needed and required by God. One woman promotes marriage weekends, another volunteers at the crisis pregnancy center, and the last one works in youth group hoping to steer young woman away from her path of promiscuity.
These dear women need to realize that help and hope and healing are available to them in Christ. This business of forgiving yourself is not a biblical principle. No where in the Bible do we find Jesus telling anyone to forgive themselves. The women I wrote about today have read the account of the adulterous woman in John 8, and are familiar with Mary Magdalene, and the woman who wept at the feet of Jesus. None of these women asked Jesus how to forgive herself, they sought His forgiveness. When they received it, they obeyed His command to sin no more in this manner. They became His followers and lived their lives for Him.
We could learn a lot from these women and their immediate response to Jesus. Beloved, when Jesus forgave them, it was done. His forgiveness was complete and total. When He forgave you, it was finished the ransom was paid and you were freed!
To ever think that you can add anything to His payment for your sin or to think you’re your self abuse will obtain forgiveness is blasphemy. The guilty feelings that you hang on to that you somehow believe will help atone for your sin are actually adding sin to your heart and life!
Oh, but you feeeel like you must do something, it is too easy to just place it at the foot of the cross, you must pay a price or have a penalty- something! If this is so, then Jesus’ sacrifice was incomplete, our redemption is not assured and God is a liar.
There is nothing you can do that can outdo what has already been done by Christ on the cross. He was the complete, total, and perfect sacrifice for your sin and to think there is anything you can do to add to his substitutionary sacrifice on your behalf is foolish and a slap in the face of the Savior.
Jesus death was all there was because His death was all that was needed to pay the penalty. Now, rest...just rest in his lavish love and forgiveness. Rest.