On the topic of forgiveness, let me ask this question: “What is God’s message to us?”
I believe that it is clearly a message of love and forgiveness! Note, that I say love and forgiveness. Why do I say this? Is it not true that when we read Scripture the overall message that Jesus gave to his disciples and the world is the message of God’s love? Jesus constantly and consistently reminds us about God’s love for each of us and to love one another (John 13:34-35). However to truly love our fellow man, we need to also know God's message of forgiveness (Mt. 6:12, 14-15), for being able to forgive one another is the true test of love.
Remember, after we committed the “original sin” and God turned us out of the Garden of Eden, we fell deeply into sin. Even though we turned away from Him, God decided to forgive us. Think of what it would take to forgive humanity, when humanity elected to ignore God’s instructions in the Garden, His eternal love, and commit the original sin. If God did not love us, He would not have forgiven us; therefore, God’s love and forgiveness go hand-in-hand.
Through the ages, our sins were both many and horrible; yet God watched us and continued to love His children. The multiplicity and magnitude of our collective sins were so great that in order for us to gain access to His everlasting love, God knew that He would have to provide all with the opportunity, one more time, to know His love for us and His power of forgiveness. As a result, God sent His only begotten Son to earth to die on the cross for our sins and thereby make us “eligible” for eternal life in Heaven with Him. God so loved His sons and daughters that He asked Jesus to die for us. Jesus so loved us that He openly suffered and died for our sins. While dying on the cross, Jesus asked His Father to forgive us, “for we know not what we do.” So again I can say that God’s love and forgiveness go hand-in-hand.
When I look at my story, I see that God has been in my life everyday and asking me the question, “Do you see me standing here?” He was “in the room” each time a hardship, death, or life decision occurred in my life; unfortunately, I did not always “see” Him there. I recognize now that He was only waiting for me to invite Him to come into my life. Doing so would have opened me up to me the love and forgiveness He has promised to each and every one of us. I know that now, but at those dark times I speak of in my story, I did not ask Him in, nor did I ask Him for His love and forgiveness; instead, each time I turned Him away. But as my story also testifies to, God never left me.
God did not turn away from me as I had turned away from Him. It wasn't until a tragic incident occurred in my family and I saw the power of unrequested forgiveness that I invited God back into my life. Now that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I say to you that all you need to do is turn to Him and invite Him into your Life. His strength and His love will give you the power to love and the ability to forgive; whether it is forgiving yourself or others. All you need to do is ask Him. He is waiting for you!