“While I am glad to debate the abortion issue, that is not the purpose of this post,” wrote my friend and preaching colleague Shane Scott in a recent facebook post. “Instead, I want to reach out to any sisters in Christ who share the same beliefs I have about abortion, but who have at some point in the past chosen to have one.”
“It may very well be the case that all of the current discussion on social media has dredged up deep feelings of guilt, remorse, and shame, even though you poured out your heart to the Lord long ago,” Shane opined. ”I just want to encourage you to know that you have not committed some sort of unpardonable sin, that the grace of Jesus Christ overflows, and that your continued subjective feelings of guilt are not proof that objective guilt remains.”
“The worst sin,” Shane correctly concluded, “can never withstand the redemption offered by our Lord when it is accepted.”
While I have written a good bit over the years about the sin of abortion, I concur 100% with my good brother’s post.
The same thing can be said about any sin that may be haunting us. Adultery. Fornication. Homosexuality. Even murder.
Our God is a God of forgiveness. No one knew that better than King David in the Old Testament.
Although he was identified as “a man after God’s own heart,” in a moment of weakness David lusted after Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, which was consummated in an adulterous union. When she discovered she was pregnant with David’s child, he further compounded his sin by concealing it, lying, denying and having Uriah murdered. And then he took Bathsheba to be his own wife. It has been observed that in this one sordid affair, David broke 5 of the 10 commandments.
However, when confronted with his sinful behavior, David broke down and admitted, “I have sinned.” Psalm 130 depicts his penitent lament to the Lord.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
This is a good question. If God, kept a record of sins, who could stand? Not David, the adulterer. Nor Abraham, the friend of God, who lied. Not Moses, the meekest man in all the earth, who disobeyed. Not Peter, the preacher and pastor, who denied Jesus. Not Paul, the great apostle, who persecuted and killed Christians. Not you. And not me.
But David’s next statement gave him and gives us hope.
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
We all need to remember that when we preach Jesus, we are proclaiming the forgiveness of sins through Him (Ax 13:38). Through the shedding of his sinless blood on the cross, we can receive redemption. Pardon. Forgiveness.
Paul experienced it and affirmed it when he wrote in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
When we fail to accept God’s forgiveness, we carry the heavy load of guilt. And guilt, wrote Robert Jeffress, “is one of the most debilitating of human emotions. It wreaks destruction in our relationships and our spiritual lives.”
Guilt accuses. Guilt condemns. Guilt is mentally draining. Physically demanding. And spiritually disastrous.
And while we are all guilty of sin, we do not have to carry the burden of guilt. Christ Jesus “came into the world to save sinners” (I Tim. 1:15). All sinners. And all sins. So, we can be assured, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
C. S. Lewis was right when he wrote, “I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
Self-forgiveness is a choice. Forgive yourself. And free yourself from the self-imposed shackles that imprison you.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman