Dear Pastor, can God really forgive me…?
The Bible assures us that God not only CAN forgive you…He WILL forgive you! God loves us and promises to forgive us if we come to Him. For example, the Bible says in The Living Bible Version of 1 John 1: 9, “But if we confess our sins to Jesus, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins).” People are capable of doing terrible things. These can produce intense feelings of guilt and remorse that can sometimes become so overwhelming that they may feel as though God could never or would forgive them for what they have done (or what they failed to do). Our own thinking and emotions can often lead us to this conclusion, but as the previous scripture declared…this is far from the truth about God.
The Bible contains many accounts of people who were forgiven by God. For example; the Apostle Paul was used by God to write a large portion of the New Testament. But Paul wasn’t always a “saint.” Before he came to know Jesus Christ, Paul persecuted Christians; having them tortured, and even killed. Yet, God forgave him and then used him in a great way. Later, Paul’s declaration that Jesus had forgiven him showed others how merciful and forgiving He is (1 Timothy 1:16). One of the best examples of forgiveness can be seen after Peter’s denial of Christ. Even though Peter denied knowing Jesus after HE was arrested, the Resurrected Jesus redeemed the distraught Peter by asking him three times “if he loved Him” (John 21:15-19) as a way to extend His acceptance and forgiveness.
I believe that the greatest demonstration of God’s forgiveness can be seen at the crucifixion. Jesus, while He was suffering for our sins on the cross, asked God the Father and received forgiveness for those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34). If God can forgive those who did this terrible injustice, He can surely forgive anything that you or I could do!
While God never approves of sin, no matter how “bad” these sins may be, He promises that we can always come to Him and receive the forgiveness that was made available through the sacrifice and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!