About a month ago, my 3 year old daughter and I were leaving her dance class and as I was getting everything together for us to walk out of the door she darts out into the parking lot. I run after her, afraid she is going to get hit by a car, and as I begin to reach her we both take a tumble onto the black asphalt. She falls and then I gracefully fall over her and do a move that looks like I’m sliding into home plate head first for the win.
I’m making light of it now, but it was quite scary and really hurt. Luckily she stepped away with a pair of ripped tights and only a small scab under her nose. I walked away with a few more wounds and unsettled fear for the unborn child within my womb. We were both in tears as we picked ourselves up and walked back to the car. Thankfully you can take a sigh of relief because we are all fine.
While the wounds have healed, I have noticed that my little girl still vividly recalls the event. I was not hard on her because she was hurt and I could tell she already felt pretty bad. We had a talk that day about running away from mommy and the consequences of us both getting hurt because of that one poor choice, she apologized and I forgave.
I thought that was the end of it…I was wrong. Since that day she will randomly come up to me, give me a hug, and say “mommy, I’m really sorry I ran away from you”. Two days ago, a month after this happened and after several “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” moments, we were leaving dance again and walking to our car and she looks up at me with her large, brown eyes and says “mommy, I’m really sorry I ran away from you”. I bent down, looked her straight in the eyes and said “baby, you don’t have to apologize for that anymore. Everyone is fine, I forgave you the day it happened and we are ok”. It was one of those lightbulb moments when I had a small glimpse of God’s view of forgiveness. I just want my sweet little girl to carry that guilt no longer. I will let you know that she has not run from me since that day (a beautiful picture of true repentance).
God tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.” When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and seek forgiveness for your sin, He wipes you clean and you are brand new. The beauty of forgiveness can be a hard concept to grasp for so many of us. We carry guilt around with us thinking that God is still mad at us for something we’ve done a week ago, a month ago, and maybe even a year ago. You may still be holding on to things you did several years ago. I want you to know that with God’s forgiveness, we don’t have to keep asking Him to forgive us. When we ask for forgiveness multiple times for the same sin I picture God getting down on our level, looking into our eyes and saying “sweet daughter, you have already been forgiven for that. I love you and you do not have to ask again. I have made you new”.
Let’s talk about that guilt for a minute. That guilt you feel or that image you continue to replay in your mind is not from God. We have an enemy who wants to constantly remind us of the things we’ve done in order to keep us distant from God, hidden from God, feeling shame in the presence of God. God just wants you to move on. In Genesis, Adam and Eve hid from God because they felt guilt and shame for their disobedience, but I want you to notice something incredible. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 3:8-9, “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said “Where are you?” What I want you see is that last part where God goes searching for them. He wants your relationship with Him to be pure and innocent. He wants you to know that even when you mess up, you can still come into His presence, ask forgiveness, and be in right standing with Him. This is not because of anything you or I have done, but because of the price Jesus paid for our sin as well as the free and perfect gift of God’s grace and mercy.
Just like I don’t want my daughter carrying around this guilt and thinking she has to apologize to me over and over again, God does not want us to carry around guilt. Jeremiah 33:8 states, “I will cleanse them from all guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.”
The second part of this wonderful forgiveness is how we can learn from it, turn away (repent) from it, and live as the brand new creation we are. Just like my daughter has learned not to run anymore we must know that we cannot continue living in sin after accepting God’s forgiveness. In Romans 6:1-14 Paul talks about how we must die to ourselves, our sinful ways, and be alive in Christ. Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” He later says in verses 12 and 13 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God for instruments for righteousness.” Yes, we are forgiven for our sin through the grace of God, but what can we learn from our sin and through His forgiveness? My daughter learned not to run away from mommy, how will you allow forgiveness to change you? How will I allow forgiveness to change me?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your forgiveness for the many times I have sinned against you. I pray that we, as daughters, will accept your forgiveness and allow ourselves to move forward as a new creation. I ask, Lord, for wisdom to learn from my mistakes and to use it to grow closer to you. I rebuke the schemes of the enemy to use guilt as a means to get in the way of our relationship. Thank you for searching for me when I have hidden from you and I pray that I realize I don’t have to hide from you in the future. You are a good God, who loves us and seeks nothing more but an intimate relationship with me.
Mandy Edwards is a Christian, wife and mother. At the age of 17, Mandy felt the Lord leading her into ministry, and followed that calling into marriage and family counseling. She has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a great passion to see marriages and families become all God created them to be. After several years of working as a counselor with adolescents, adults and families, Mandy and her husband were obedient to God’s calling for Mandy to stay home with their daughter – a beautiful gift from above! Mandy continues to seek and follow God’s plan as he takes her down new avenues to minister to others. Craving God Ministries is an outlet that enables Mandy to utilize her education and experience to reach women and families to reach their full potential towards the Kingdom of God.