Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 31, 2017

first step toward freedom

Recently I had a conversation with a man who had developed a sense of extreme guilt. Forgiving himself is something he craves. He is also willing to listen to anyone talk about the principle, but when it comes to actually releasing his issues back to the Father, there is a definite disconnect. He accepted Christ as his Savior a few years ago, but is still living under extreme guilt. Without a doubt, the principle of “forgiving myself” is a problem for many true believers, and even paralyzing to some. The Father in no way wants His followers to live in a persistent pattern of guilt.

When anyone accepts Christ, our sins, past, present and future, have been dealt with. We are secure eternally, however, there will be sin to deal with for the rest of our lives. God, in His grace, has provided a way to deal with it. It is called confession.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9 (ESV)

For my friend, who is living with deep guilt, the first step in healing is to look at sin and the past the way the Father does. His word says if we confess, He will forgive. So when any of us prays, confesses sin and then continues to carry a burden of guilt, we can rest assured it is not God who is laying the weight on us. Living continually under a burden of guilt God has not placed upon us is devastating to one’s walk.

This is an important and often rarely discussed issue for believers. How are you with confessing (which means to say the same thing about sin that God does, and to acknowledge His perspective on sin) and then accepting that your faithful and just Father cleanses you? Why carry guilt that our Father has forgiven? My Life Application Study Bible (NLT), says the following in regards to  I John 1:9:

“Confession is supposed to free us to enjoy fellowship with Christ. It should ease our consciences and lighten our cares. But some Christians do not understand how it works. They feel so guilty that they confess the same sins over and over; then they wonder if they might have forgotten something. Other Christians believe that God forgives them when they confess, but if they died with unconfessed sins, they would be forever lost. These Christians do not understand that God wants to forgive us. He allowed His beloved son to die just so he could offer us pardon. When we come to Christ, he forgives all the sins we have committed or will ever commit. We don’t need to confess the sins of the past all over again, and we don’t need to fear that God will reject us if we don’t keep our slate perfectly clean. Of course we should continue to confess our sins, but not because failure to do so will make us lose our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is secure. Instead we should confess so that we can enjoy maximum fellowship and joy with him.”

Christ-followers will sin, but God is a forgiver!  We should never carry the burden of a sin(s) that God has forgiven and removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Sometimes it’s not easy to emotionally let go, but agreeing and accepting I John 1:9 is a first step toward freedom. There is work to be done in helping my friend, but victory can be his … and yours!

If you are battling with nagging guilt, reach out to us at journeyonwordwithus@gmail.com.  We would love to come alongside and pray for you. And, most importantly, if you have never accepted Christ as Savior, reach out to us today!


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