“I’ve done it again.”
“I’ve asked God to forgive me but I still feel guilty. I feel as though I need to do something to make it up to him.”
How often over the years have I felt like that? I’d do something silly. I’d ask for forgiveness and though I know He’s “faithful and just” and forgives me, I’d feel awful. So often we don’t feel forgiven. We feel guilty and we can’t talk to Him or approach his presence.
As I’ve grown older I’ve realised that the reason I’ve struggled so often with guilt and shame was because I did not understand the heart of a father. I didn’t understand God and how He could forgive and chose to forgive me. I didn’t understand how He could forgive me and I struggled to forgive myself – I tried to ‘earn’ his forgiveness.
Love is not a feeling but a choice – a choice that leads to good feelings, but begins as choice. Even though we do silly things God, as a father, chooses to forgive when we ask Him. He also chooses not to revisit those silly things we’ve done.
So often we don’t feel forgiven. We feel guilty and we can’t talk to Him or approach his presence.
A good earthly father is willing to do the same. He chooses to forgive His children no matter what they have one. This is because He has chosen to love us no matter how much it might hurt Him. When a child says “I’m sorry” the response will always be “I forgive you” because that is a heart of love. The area of broken relationship is restored immediately from the father’s view. The father has chosen to love his child.
When I feel I need to “do more” it reveals I do not really understand the heart of my Father God. It’s like me thinking as a dad without a real heart of love that “He should demonstrate greater sorrow…He should prove he is making changes…I expect to see real change in behaviour…”
In The Gospel of John 8:19 Jesus said “You neither know me or my father”. The Pharisees had created an ‘image’ of God according to their own mind. They thought they understood God but their perception of God was about rules and consequence. They did not understand Him as a loving father.
Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9 begins “Our father…..”. God the Father is a God of relationship and friendship.
Our father God sees past our mistakes into who He created us to be. As a result He has chosen to forgive us.
Let me encourage you to ask God to reveal Himself to you as a loving father. Be prepared to simply sit and enjoy His presence and His love. Then when you make mistakes and ask for forgiveness you will know and understand the nature and character of the God who has forgiven you. Then you won’t feel guilty but can move through the mistakes, learning from them, and become more like Him.
As this revelation grips your heart there will be an increase in your personal confidence and identity, and you will find yourself making fewer and fewer mistakes and dumb decisions as you make better choices to please the father that loves you.