You Are Not Beyond Forgiveness — Here’s Where to Start
by: Lisa Robertson
When most of us spoke our wedding vows, we made a serious commitment to faithfulness. On that day, as we stood before the people who came to witness our ceremony, we couldn’t imagine a day when we would allow another person to have access to the relationship we had with our spouse. But in spite of that commitment, marital demons too often worm their way into our hearts and convince us that the only way out of the pain, boredom, and conflict that has come to characterize our marriage is to find someone else who will “meet our needs.”
Unfortunately, this particular lie of Satan (as are all of his lies) is an empty one.
Here’s how he works: He tempts us with liberty, fulfillment, and met needs, and he often mixes in a little truth with the lie to make it believable. Maybe your husband isn’t meeting your needs, or maybe your wife really is unreasonable. However, the solution he proposes is always far worse than the problem we currently have. Unfortunately, once we believe him and follow through on what he tempts us with, he then holds us hostage by convincing us that too much water has passed under our bridge for us to ever go back. Sadly, rather than finding freedom or met needs, more bondage and isolation awaits us than we could have ever imagined.
“You’ve gone too far!”
“God can’t forgive a sin as big as the one you just committed.”
Frequently, he will encourage us to find “counselors” (people who do not have in mind the things of God and who are often trying to justify their own failure to be faithful to God). These people will say things like, “You deserve to be happy.” Or maybe they’ll say, “You’ll get over this — just make sure you follow your heart.”
And so we sink into a deadly resignation that our situation is beyond God’s grace — beyond his ability to forgive. At least that’s what Satan’s voice whispers to us. They sound like our own thoughts, but they aren’t — instead, they are his words. I ask you to consider the steps I took in order to find healing and grace. They’re simple, but they are powerful.
- Fall Down in Humility, Honesty, and Truth I’ve been there! And if this is you, the first thing I want to encourage you to do is to fall on your knees and openly and freely confess your guilt. Be completely honest with God. (He already knows what you did, so don’t be afraid to say it out loud.) Then plead with him to allow you to see him as a father whose deepest desire is to heal you — to pour out his mercy all over you and your broken heart. Pray for him to reveal truth (reality) to you. You don’t want to believe a lie, do you? And pray fervently for the wisdom to call Satan what he is — The Father of Lies!
- Consume His Word — the Only Source of Truth Next, I want to encourage you to do what I did — go to his Word and allow him to speak truth to you. Satan, as we’ve said, is a liar – but he can only do his work in a state of ignorance. When we meditate on God’s word and internalize his holy will — the Truth — there will be very little room for the words of the Evil One!
- Invest in Obedience (Trust)
If we are serious about abandoning our own will and surrendering our lives to Christ’s care and control, then we must make a decision about who we are going to listen to and who we’re going to obey. If you think about it, you’re going to obey someone anyhow. Either you obey God or you obey your own thoughts that were planted by the Evil One. One leads to life, the other leads to death.
One way you can guard against falling back into the old trap of self-deception is to find godly people (of the same sex as you) to hold you accountable. Give those people the permission to speak truth to you even if the truth is potentially painful. You want to do this because the pain of hearing the truth is nothing compared to the pain that comes from living a sinful life.
Instead of avoiding correction and accountability, embrace it! Ask for it! It’s one of your best safety nets.
- Tell God’s Story (Testify) When God begins to do amazing things in your life, don’t keep it to yourself. Early on, I realized that I could knock the props out from under Satan if I told my story. And once I began to tell it, he stopped telling me that people wouldn’t love me if they knew the truth about me. He couldn’t threaten me with exposure anymore because I’d already come clean in a very public way. Oddly, my healing was accelerated once I stopped caring what people found out about me and concerned myself only with pleasing God. Besides, God wants people to know that he is a god who takes broken people and transforms them into obedient worshipers. He wants to do that in your life.
So stop thinking that you are too far gone. Trust me! You’re not! Not even close. Jesus died to free you from the burden of guilt that you are carrying. In fact, he is most glorified when we repent and turn to him in humility. Don’t worry, you can’t out-sin God’s grace. The only way that you can go too far is if you never repent and embrace him.