If you only knew the things I have done! How could God ever forgive me?
Have you felt this kind of hopelessness and regret, realizing the darkness of your heart? Has the great mountain of your pride, selfishness, cruelty, greed, and lust seemed to block out the light of the love of God?
I want you to know that not only is this feeling common, but it is a natural response from those who have an encounter with the perfection of God. These feelings are evidence that God, in his love, has been showing himself to you.
The Bible records the guilt-ridden cry of many through the ages who were crushed by the weight of their sin as they encountered Holy God. Isaiah saw the glory of God as his presence filled the temple and he cried out, “Woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). The Apostle Paul called himself “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
The reason for this common self-assessment is the immeasurable perfection of Almighty God. In comparison to his infinite goodness, even a gentle, loving woman like Mother Teresa looks the same as the worst of all sinners. There is no one who can compare to God's holy purity and perfection.
It is the unthinkable transfer: the perfect God becoming our unrighteousness, so that we can receive his perfection as our own.
And yet it is that very same infinite perfection that shines out hope for everyone, no matter how vile their heart, or corrupted their thoughts. The Good News of Jesus is that he loves us so completely that he sacrificed himself, with all of his infinite perfection, and took the penalty of our sin, making it his own. Since there is no limit to his purity and goodness, there is no sin that his death has not already paid for. Paul wrote, “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is the unthinkable transfer: the perfect God becoming our unrighteousness, so that we can receive his perfection as our own.
However, we have an enemy whose skill at deception and misdirection is unparalleled. This enemy will use our very common and natural feelings of unworthiness to lead us away from God’s grace and love rather than toward him. He is called ’The Accuser,” ‘The Father of Lies,’ ‘The Adversary, and he has already determined in his heart that he will never accept the love of God. He is desperate for humans to agree with him that God is not great, so he whispers in our ear, “God will not forgive you. You have gone past the limit of his grace. There is no hope for you, now.”
But the unlimited love of God will not stop pursuing us no matter how far we might flee from him. There is no darkness that his light cannot dispel. There is no cruelty that his gentleness cannot transform. There is no addiction that his power cannot tame. There is no lust that his faithfulness cannot purify. There is no greed that his generosity cannot quell. The death of Jesus has paid the penalty for the totality of our sin, and he freely offers forgiveness to all who put their trust in him.
Are you ready to receive his grace into your life and let him take that mountain of sin that is crushing your hope and joy? Tell Him. Pour out your heart to him, and receive his forgiveness for your life. You might say something like this:
Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and have amassed a huge record of offenses against You. No matter what I try, I can’t ever seem to escape from the darkness of my own heart. I need your help. I put my hope for cleansing in you alone. Come into my life and wash the evil of my selfishness away. Take control of my thoughts, my emotions, my actions and my words, and let my life produce love, joy, kindness, compassion, generosity, and grace towards others. Thank you for showing me your perfection and rescuing me from myself. Amen.
If this is a step you are ready to take or have questions about what all this means for you, connect with one of our mentors and let them know. They would love to help you know more about this Jesus whose infinite perfection has made a way for you to be free from your sin.
These words from a famous hymn express the truth of God’s grace beautifully:
“The love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell. It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell. The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave his Son to win. His erring child he reconciled and pardoned from his sin.” — Frederick M. Lehman
You can listen to this song