Freedom to feel forgiven

19 Jan

For years, I tried to repent to God for my sins, and then wrestled with the emptiness of not feeling “forgiven.”

Partially, that unsettled confusion inside of us is one of the many tricks of Satan.  He likes to convince us that because we have a memory of our past sins, then we’re not forgiven of it.  That’s a lie.  But it’s one many of us secretly believe in some form or fashion over the course of our lives, even if we think we don’t – or don’t admit it out loud.

Having a memory doesn’t mean we aren’t forgiven. Instead, it truly can serve to be a blessing from God to help us refrain from making the same mistakes.  Consequences are good for us, and God rarely allows us to escape them because they help mold and shape our future actions.  It’s so much easier to repent and truly walk away from a sinful behavior with a memory of the action and consequences.

However, I’m going to talk about the other less mentioned reason for why we often don’t feel forgiven.

I John 1:9    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Sometimes confession of our sin can and will simply be to God alone.  But there are other times when our souls are not at rest and the guilt remains a burden to us because we know, we’ve sinned not just against God, but against someone else.

God created us for fellowship.  We NEED each other.  The two greatest commandments are to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

So we know that God takes the communion and interaction of the body very seriously.

As much as it pains me to say this, because it’s hard to do, there will be times when forgiveness will not come, freedom will not come, and joy will not return until you confess your sins to God, and also to those your sin affected.

I’ve had to taste this medicine a LOT in the last 5 years.  I hate it.  It never gets “easy” to tell someone you sinned against them.  It’s humbling.

But as my husband told me once when I was confessing something to him that gave me the courage to spit it out, was something along the lines of  “There is freedom in the light, and bondage in the darkness. Just say it and bring it to light so you can let it go.”

There is no way to control how someone will we react.  They might be angry, they might need time, and they might forgive quickly. In my experience, I may have felt sad over the broken relationship when someone wasn’t willing to forgive quickly, however, the freedom of true forgiveness has always flooded me immediately upon confession – WHEN it’s a sin I’m repenting or have repented of committing.  ((There is not immediate freedom of guilt and a flooding of forgiveness when we confess sins but willingly continue committing them.))

I’ve had to confess a lot of sins in the past — but I’ll be square with you.  I just had to do this a couple of hours ago.  Yesterday, my emotions got the best of me, and I wasn’t speaking as loving as I should have to my husband, and sadly, someone over heard me.  I wasn’t yelling, but I wasn’t speaking with the respect that I’ve learned to use when interacting with my husband.  I let my emotions get the best of me, and I hurt my husband, and I gave a poor representation of our marriage, and of God’s work in our lives.

So, I apologized to my husband and he forgave me yesterday.  However, I was still unsettled and I knew what I had to do.  I had to apologize to the person who overheard us.  Not only because it was the right thing to do for my husband, (because it is VERY, VERY embarrassing for a man to be spoken to with any form of disrespect, especially in front of another man) I wanted to put some honor back in his heart, but also because this man is a Christian friend of ours and it was sinful for us to claim to be friends he could count on to pray for him, his marriage and his kids when we were misrepresenting Christ in his presence.

So, I apologized.  And I immediately felt forgiven by Christ and that guilt left me.  And he also was very gracious and forgave me immediately.  As I expected, he minimized the sin as if he didn’t even notice, but that wasn’t the point.  It didn’t matter if HE realized I sinned, *I* knew I had.

And that’s the other trick of Satan that keeps us in bondage.  The lie that the other person doesn’t even know they were sinned against, is already over, won’t forgive, or any other scenario where we convince ourselves that we shouldn’t confess our sins to the people we sin against.

Practical Application

Just to tie it all back together – we feel guilty and un-forgiven when Satan lies to us that our memory means we can’t move past sin or when excuses serve as reasonable sidesteps for not confessing sin to others.

So if you want to feel the freedom of forgiveness and to truly walk away from the guilt –

1.) Look at consequences and memory as a GIFT from God to help us truly repent of sin.

2.) Confess your sins to those you’ve sinned against.

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2 Responses to “Freedom to feel forgiven”

  1. Gleniece January 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    Beautifully said, Kayla. Thank you. Love to read what our amazing God has revealed to you.

    • Kayla Gulick January 20, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks Gleniece. I personally like the ones that are easy and not so much these harder ones 🙂 I’m so blessed to have you reading along!

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