You have been so sick of the things you have done to hurt people, so sick of the guilt, that you finally admitted to God that you were wrong, asked him to forgive you, and decided to do what he wants you to do. And because Jesus took your place on the cross, you have been forgiven.
Now, the idea comes into your head — “You should ask them to forgive you.” So begins an argument in your head, “Not unless they apologize first!” Back and forth the two sides, two desires war inside you.
As long as that war endures there is no progress, no release from the guilt. Jesus urges you to go. Finally, you say to yourself OK, OK, I’ll do it. But then when you approach them your heart beats out of your chest, your palms sweat. Not many men are man enough to follow through, they chicken out. But those men who are truly strong say, “I was wrong, I am sorry, and I will do my best to never do that again. Will you forgive me?”
Now the ball is in the other person’s court. They will either say yes or no. Sometimes they say no because they know that they were wrong also and they are too small and weak to admit it. If they say yes, a relationship even a friendship or a family are healed, at least the first step is taken.
The second step is to put it into practice by not repeating what you did. Simply you must really mean you were sorry by not doing it again. Yes, we all screw up, and often repeat our wrongs. But if we do it again and again clearly there is something wrong in our hearts. Every time we stumble and hurt others, we must go to God and ask his forgiveness. He forgives again and again and again. Every time you ask him. This is called grace.
His permanent disposition toward you is to love you and always wants to forgive. There is a song called Holy Water that has a line in it that says, “I don’t want to abuse your grace, God I need it every day, it’s the only thing that ever really makes me wanna change.” If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive our sin. Over and over he forgives, until his love breaks our hearts, and we begin to hate our sin. Then we really change and we find God’s power to stop doing what we know is wrong.
This is Part 4 of the series on forgiveness . The fourth act is Seek others’ forgiveness. For more help call Pastor Dan, 740-239-3539, Court House Nazarene Church.