Have you ever heard the saying-it is easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is to ask for
I have been traveling today, in a car, so I have had a lot of time to think. God has laid- forgiveness and repentance on my heart. Not for the fact that I need to give them or offer them to someone else; more so that I need to understand them more.
Have you ever rationalized sin?
Have you ever had the thought: God knows that I am human, he will forgive me?
Have you continued with something -KNOWING that you would have to ask for his forgiveness, but chose to proceed with the “sin” anyway? All-the-while thinking about this verse and maybe using it to “pull-one-over” on God: 1 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.
If you answered- Yes, don’t worry we are in the same boat! Now, is the time to learn how to hop off that boat.
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally, involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life.
When I went and studied these two words- Forgiveness and Repentance, it was quite obvious to me that I was asking for one (often), yet neglecting the other (often).
For example: I have often stated, that I struggle with anxiety. Sometimes, if my boys are spending the weekend at their Grandparent’s house, I will use this as an excuse to partake in some wine. I will admit, I love wine. I struggle though, with stopping after one glass…sometimes I look at the bottle and realize – I drank the whole thing!
I feel awful afterwards. I feel convicted and guilty, yet when the time comes around again – I think “he will forgive me”.
Honestly, I love the calm that it allows you to feel. I know that is wrong, but it is the honest answer. I don’t “need” it, but when the option presents itself, I am weak and don’t say no.
Today, I heard James MacDonald speak on the radio. Let me just say, picture God with a giant gong and a huge paddle; that is how I personally took this message. I mean it could not have been any more clear if God- physically met me in person, and relayed it to me.
This is how I interpreted the message:
Sin is a pleasurable experience, for a season. Soon, we realize it is more like a tumor. Eventually, when we realize the tumor has grown and become terminal…our perspective changes. We see our sin for what it is…destructive and wrong, instead of pleasurable and Ok.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. Why? Asking for permission- may give us the answer we don’t want. Asking for forgiveness- allows us to do what we wanted. In a way, it lets us have our cake and eat it too.
We do this with sin! We rationalize to ourselves…God will forgive me. He knows I am human, I will do it and ask for his forgiveness later.
This lead me to this thought:
Why do we ask for forgiveness…is it because we truly feel guilty, or is it because we got caught? If it is the latter, guess what! God saw you in act, he saw you through it all! From the beginning contemplation, to the end’s confession. He knows your thoughts and your heart through the whole process.
Do we honestly think he believes our confession and our asking for forgiveness is genuine?
No. We are mentally “cleaning our slate”, so we can mark it up again later – and not feel bad. Really though, we are the only ones who don’t see the “erased marks” because God does. He saw you erase them!
Ultimately, if we truly purpose to follow God – we have to be honest with ourselves and with him. We can’t play the “he said he will forgive me” card. This is just wrong and frankly, a slap in the face to God.
If we TRULY feel convicted we need to get down on our knees and pray to the Lord. We need to confess our sin and Repent! Repentance is admitting and destroying the sin. Not confessing and promising to try.
When we come to God and ask for his forgiveness…we have to be willing to offer up our genuine repentance! His forgiveness is not cheaper-by-the-dozen! It is more precious than gold! We need to treat it this way and with respect.
I am so guilty and it brought me to tears in my car while I was alone. I have done this – I have played the “he will forgive me later” card. I am fully aware now of my wrong doing and have removed the blinders- that were allowing me to deny my sins, sinfulness.
When I occasionally drink; it is to reduce my anxiety/stress. I realized from his message, my anxiety and my stress are indicative of me not 100% putting my trust in God. So, I realized I was treating a sin (not trusting in God and allowing anxiety and stress to overcome me), with a sin (drinking – sometimes too much).
Now, I don’t know what your struggle or your vice may be; I do know though that God is bigger! God is also – pretty dang smart (Ok REALLY smart!). When we try to pull the wool over his eyes, we are only deceiving our self. My prayer is that no matter what you may struggle with; no matter how big or how small- you will allow yourself to fully confess it to God! This time though, instead of “asking for his forgiveness” offer him your true repentance! His forgiveness is what he will bless you with after!