Do you say you believe God's grace has forgiven you, but that is not how you live? You might declare that grace is God's undeserved favor, but if you don't feel it down in your innermost being then you are caught on the treadmill of constantly striving to be better. So many believers try to get rid of their guilt by trying to work harder at it. Resentment—striving—anxiety all take their toll. They end up punishing themselves by creating more suffering for themselves and others. They find that they are unable to atone for what only Jesus can atone. Many know in their minds that they are forgiven, but can't feel His forgiveness and love in their hearts. They don't get it in their spiritual “gut” that grace is free and can never be repaid.
“If you refuse to forgive others,” Jesus said, “your Father will not forgive you of your sins” (Matthew 6:15, NLT). Unless you forgive, you will not experience His forgiveness and live in the freedom of His grace. You experience this freedom when you freely forgive from the heart. The Lord says to forgive your enemies. What if you are your worst enemy? Forgive, He imparts! How you see yourself is how you see others. Saying you believe you are forgiven but not experiencing His forgiveness, reveals that you have not allowed His grace to transform your heart. Judgment builds. Hurt inflames. Bitterness hardens your heart. Anger and resentment, directed not only at others but at yourself, binds you in a prison of unforgiveness that will ultimately destroy you.
If you are unable to experience God's forgiveness, then you may be on a treadmill of striving, and achieving what you believe will make God love you more. If you want to experience God's unmerited grace in your deepest being, quit trying so hard to make amends for what only Jesus’ grace can set free. Be sure you have not only asked Him into your heart, but that you also seek Him as Lord of your life. Choose to believe that He can change you. Slow down and quit striving mentally and emotionally. Tell Him you want to forgive yourself and forgive others so that you will no longer live in a perpetual state of bitterness and resentment. You can only choose to forgive. You can't make yourself emotionally feel it. But He can. Don't analyze. Don't strive. Allow Him to seep into the depths of your soul. Ask Him to set you free from the “I'm not worthy mindset” that keeps you from receiving His forgiveness. One day you will not only know that you are forgiven. You will feel His forgiveness, and give it unreservedly to others with a love and freedom that only He can impart.
© 2017 Lynn Lacher