It must have been about a year and a half ago, not long before Ps. Lizby started her blog. A bunch of us women were in the car on our way to C3 Church Arnhem, talking about her soon-to-begin blogging adventure, when Ps. Lizby turned to me. “I am going to start a blog and you are going to guest blog for me,” she said, eyes twinkling. It was a statement, not a question. She never pushed – never even mentioned it again until recently – but she never forgot. Today’s blog is proof of that. Ps. Lizby, thank you for stirring my little nest the way you do. 🙂 But more than that, thank you for trusting me enough to share a bit of my heart on the pages of your blog. – Cheryse
As a 19 year-old searching for God, I struggled immensely to accept that God accepts me. I was raised to believe in God and while I had never consciously turned my back on Him, at 19 I wasn’t sure I believed in Him anymore; in fact, I wasn’t sure if I had ever believed in Him to begin with. I was ashamed and mad at myself for feeling the way I did. I had been taught better and so I reasoned I should have know better. Surely, God – if He did exist – deserved better. In my mind, there was no room for grace, yet God was tireless in His pursuit. When I finally dared to believe that God not only accepted me, but that by His forgiveness He had wiped my slate clean, it was like my soul breathed a sigh of relief.
Then life happened and I learned old ways of thinking have a way of hanging on.
Not too long ago, I was having one of those weeks where nothing seems to go the way you want it to go. In the midst of it I had allowed myself to drift away from God, leaving us both heartbroken. Desperate to mend what I had damaged between us, I opened my Bible and listened for His voice. All I could hear were my own thoughts, mocking me. “Shouldn’t you have known better after all this time?” Under the weight of my sin, I began to fear that maybe I had allowed myself to believe things about God that were not really true. That maybe we as Christians had attributed things to God that are, in fact, not part of His character. In my own humble opinion, it was God’s grace to forgive once, twice, even three times, but not much more than that. If He’s anything like me, I figured, His patience would soon run out.
Thankfully, God is nothing like me. Instead it is my purpose and privilege to become like Him. And yes, that means being holy just as He is holy, but His grace doesn’t come with an expiration date. As I was trying to wrap my head around God’s forgiveness, God showed me this: He would never – could never – require anything of us that He isn’t willing or able to do for us. The reason He can ask us to forgive seven times in a day and up to seventy times seven is because that is exactly what He is offering us. Just like we love because He first loved us, we forgive because He forgive us – every time.
The Bible says that by one sacrifice He has made perfect those who are being made holy (Hebrew 10:14). God’s forgiveness is not something man has attributed to God to feel better about himself. It is the very nature of who God is. Jesus went to the cross for it! The truth is, we are going to mess up sometimes. However, the even greater truth is that when we do, we have an Advocate with the Father who sees not only our today, but also our tomorrow. He sees what we can become and He knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, we can rest in knowing that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9).