We have been discussing forgiveness over the past four weeks, the importance of it and the steps to accomplish it. We looked at how we forgive others, by understanding the difference between forgiveness and justification or ignoring the pain, releasing the person entirely, recognising God’s purpose in the pain, and re-establishing the relationship if God determines.
We also looked at the importance of self-forgiveness to a victorious and successful life.
I pray that you continue to receive tremendous freedom and growth as you put these steps into practice. I also pray that you will walk in the forgiven life with the authority of a child of God, rather than living like a hired servant.
Now that we have a greater understanding of His forgiveness in our minds, the next step is to recognise that though forgiveness is an event, it is also a process. So what should happen in our lives when we really receive God’s forgiveness? How do we live a life of forgiveness?
When we live forgiven, God replaces four heavy burdens in our lives:
1.The Burden of doubt
Doubt holds us back from God’s best. We constantly battle doubts about our abilities, others and even God. God wants to replace your doubts with security.In Hebrews 10:17 (NLT), God says, “…I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds”. There is no need to do anything else when you have been forgiven. You don’t have to doubt your security. When God steps into your life and offers you forgiveness, it’s done.
2. The Burden of Guilt & Shame
So many of us are carrying around guilt and shame over mistakes made in the past. But God doesn’t want this for you; He wants to replace your guilt with peace. Guilt is not from God; through forgiveness, God wants to remove the guilt and shame in your life. “Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God…” (Acts 13:39 NLT 1996)
3. The Burden of Regret
A lot of us have regret about things that have happened in our life that we wish we could have changed. And regret, just like guilt, is not from God. God wants to replace your regret with hope. Romans 4:7 (NLT) says, “Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.” There is nothing that you can do that will prevent God from creating a new future for you with hope and endless possibilities. It’s never too late with God.
4. The Burden of Fear
Fear of the unknown can cripple us. God neither wants you to nor created you to live in fear. He wants to replace your fear with courage. So how does God’s forgiveness help me overcome my fears? When we are forgiven, our future is secured and we know this in our heart. That means, when God asks you to move you out of your comfort zone, you don’t have to be paralysed with fear because you know God will be there and will take care of you. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT).
When we take a step towards God, God runs towards us. When you recognise your need for Him and receive His forgiveness through Christ, He gives you all the benefits of being his child. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down ... and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT).