We long to hear the words “I forgive you”, letting us know our offense wasn’t too big to be covered by love. Yet, how often do we continue to hold onto the guilt and shame long after we hear those powerful words?
There is a story in the Bible that depicts the magnitude of God’s longing to forgive, and power to rid us of guilt and shame.
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”
“That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Because he is God, Jesus’ love is not only willing
but also powerful to forgive and cleanse.
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:8,9 (NLT)
There is nothing else like knowing not only the reality of being forgiven, but also the total freedom from any guilt and shame – no matter what I’ve done! This never means consequences won’t still play out, but when guilt and shame are removed – that is powerful!
This is the amazing story of the cross. Jesus wasn’t a martyr because he was a good man who made people angry. He was a sacrifice to remove the penalty of our offense against God, and the associated guilt and shame, through forgiveness of our sin. At the cost of his own blood. He did what we could never do.
We don’t have the capability of bearing the weight of our own sin and shame, so Jesus came to bear the weight for us – so we could find forgiveness and cleansing through his sacrifice.
Below, “Clean” by Natalie Grant beautifully depicts God’s power and love to make us amazingly, beautifully clean, in a way no other has the power to do.
Be at peace – the penalty of our guilt and shame has been paid. Embrace Jesus’ gift, so you too can be clean!
From one who has found the beauty of being clean,