Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
I like to think of myself as a moral person, as a good Christian. But do I really know myself as God knows me. He knows my evil thoughts, my bad attitudes, my anger, my pride, my sins of omission and commission. Many times, I give myself a free pass. God knows my sin, yet He loves me and He sees me through the blood of Jesus Christ. I am forgiven! What a blessing and a hope for the future!
One of our speakers a few years ago was Bill Owens, the former CEO/CFO of HealthSouth. It was a powerful message on sin, forgiveness and restoration. Bill spent 43 months in jail. His desire is to warn others of the subtlety of sin, the consequences of sin and the blessedness of forgiveness.
He asked those men in the room that day, “How many of you are 28 or under?” Scores of hands went up. “I made my first wrong decision that got me on this path of untruthfulness, by altering the books when I was 28 years old. I knew it was wrong. I would have been fired for not making that decision, but no one held a gun to my head.”
A question was asked by a man in the audience, “What if you know of a person who is in that situation?” Bill replied, “Tell him to get out today. I mean get out today.” I was struck by his earnest and definitive answer. As John Owen has written, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
How do we deal with sin in our own lives? Do we even recognize it in our actions or attitudes as sin? C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory says, “I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says ‘Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’ But excusing says ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.’ If one was really not to blame then there is nothing to forgive.”
Are you asking God to forgive you or excuse you? Do I really understand the seriousness of my sin that nailed Christ to the cross? It is an important question. The Christian life is finding
out about myself, how I am more sinful than I ever thought; yet recognizing that His grace and forgiveness is more than I could ever imagine.
It will be tremendously hard to forgive others, unless you understand how much God has forgiven you. As we grow as a Christian, not only do we see how far we have come, but also how far we need to go. I must grasp the overwhelming mercy and grace God has extended to me, so I can forgive myself and others.