Guilt is a horrible feeling. We’ve all felt it. Maybe we did something we shouldn’t have, or neglected to do something we should have. Sometimes, this feeling of guilt is so pervasive and controlling that we feel forever lost. We start to think, “there’s no way God could forgive me.” But the truth is, God can forgive you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or for how long. God can forgive us no matter our past. Here’s why.
1. He loves you
When we sin, we separate ourselves from God. Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in that hopeless state, but reaches out to us through His own graceful initiative. In other words, God’s compassion covers our weaknesses:
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:10-14).
God wasn’t content to watch mankind suffer under the burden of their own bad choices. Instead, he took the first loving step to heal us and sent His Son (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-8). Though our sins separate us from God, His love personified in Jesus bridges that gap. No sin is so bad that the love of God can’t cover when the gift of God’s grace is accepted.
2. He’s forgiven worse
Saul of Tarsus was a bad man. We would describe him today as a terrorist: a religious zealot who sought to kill and imprison those who were Christian (Acts . We know Saul of Tarsus today as Paul the apostle, and he wrote this about his conversion to Christianity:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Tim. 1:12-16).
Saul was an opponent of God, but he received mercy. Jesus Christ came into the world for a reason: to save sinners. He saved Saul as an example. The fountain of grace is open to all, we need only to accept it through faith, repenting of our sins and being immersed in the watery grave of baptism (Rom. 10:10; Acts 2:38).
3. He wants to
That’s the thing about God, he really wants “all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). It doesn’t matter your race, gender, nationality, socioeconomic status, etc., if you come to God on His terms He will forgive you, regardless of your past actions. He doesn’t save us because we’re awesome and deserve it. He saves us because He wants us to be saved. He cares about us that much:
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).
God desperately wants you to be saved. He’s our healer, helper, and deliverer. No mess is too big, no sin is too big. He’s done everything He can to reach out to us. He’s inspired men in days past to write down His timeless words, and He’s even given his own son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). You’re not too bad to be forgiven. Rather, God is too good not to give you the way (His Son) and time (now) to be so. Thank God for His grace.