You Are Forgiven

March 21, 2007 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

 Easter for me encompasses the whole of Lent/Easter and Pentecost. Lent is the time of preparing ourselves for the forgiveness of Easter. We practice prayer, fasting and self-denial and through those actions we look inward and become aware of our failings. This is the confession part of the Easter season. It awakes within us a desire for forgiveness.

Confession starts with “owning” our failings where we admit to ourselves we have failed. Next is repentance. This action needs to be understood and emphasized more. Repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia and is from the words meta (after) and noeo (to think). Metanoia is the main word used to translate repentance in the bible. It means to think about something after the fact and have a reversal of opinion about it. In the reformation sense, repentance means to change the mind, to renounce your wrongdoing. Repentance is a step too easily glossed over or missed entirely. It is a necessary step for us to be open to asking for the forgiveness given by the grace of God.

Repentance is a major part in forgiveness but another important part is self-forgiveness. It is through self-forgiveness that we realize the benefit of release of guilt which allows us to live an abundant life.

My eyes were opened by a story I heard at a men’s bible study. One of the participants was a retired gentleman who leads a humble praiseworthy life. He mentioned that there were a couple of events in his life that he regretted and while he knew God forgave him, he had not forgiven himself. This thought jolted my mind. He had repented and was forgiven but he had gained no benefit from it. He retained the guilt and it was a continuing cloud in his life. I came to see that true forgiveness included self-forgiveness and the release of guilt. Retaining guilt has psychological consequences. Some of them are:

  • Loss of love for yourself
  • Indifference towards yourself and your needs
  • Chronic angry outburst against yourself
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Self pitying
  • Chronic reliving of past failures, mistakes, errors, offenses
  • Suspicion of others when they are accepting of you
  • Chronic depression

Basically the above describes depression, the great thief of abundant life. God’s forgiveness is meant to release us from this destructive behavior. We are meant to be free to enjoy the gift of God’s creation and be happy in it. By holding onto guilt we hold ourselves captive and can’t fully experience the abundant life.

Repentance/ forgiveness is threefold. It is admitting/ owning your failing; renouncing it and importantly it is self forgiveness too. Like the man at bible study, we renounce our failings and know God forgives us yet we feel we must bear the burden of guilt. To truly receive forgiveness we must be prepared to forgive ourselves and release our guilt. Let’s confess-

  • In silence go to your inner being
  • Feel yourself in the midst of the Spirit
  • Your heart is open to God
  • Search for a failing you retain guilt about
  • Now comes repentance
  • Renounce your actions in that failing
  • Tell God what you did
  • Ask the Spirit to forgive you

At this point in a church service you will hear an assurance of pardon like these words of Jesus from 1John 1:9,

But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right, he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.

  • You have repented and you are forgiven!
  • Now release your guilt and live just as if you never sinned

You are forgiven! You are free! Praise God!

Like a prisoner set free, like a terminally ill person miraculously cured, like a slave released from cruel bondage you are elated. You have great Joy. This release and joy creates in us a desire to share the gift. Jesus has shown us a way to do this. Jesus instructed the disciples in Luke 24:47

And in his (Jesus’) name the message about repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem

There is a great deal of guilt baggage in the world. We can demonstrate gratitude for our forgiveness by showing others how to be released as well. The resulting freedom, joy and goodwill will spread around the world and pave the way for the realm of the Spirit on earth.

May this Easter season bring you forgiveness and freedom from guilt.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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