February 18, 2014
I realize it’s bold, but it’s the way the conversation started…
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
His answer caught me a little off guard. “Yes,” he said with his head down. “My wife has always been deeply religious, too. I don’t generally tell people this, but years ago she had two abortions and she has never really forgiven herself.”
My heart sank. Empathy ripped through my soul.
“Have you?” I replied.
He glanced up at me with a look of guilt no eighty-five year old man should have to bear. “No, I guess I never really have.” (Pause.) “I could have stopped them, you know?”
A flood of emotions ran through me. Immediately, I was transported in my mind to the morning just a few weeks ago when I stood in church, hands lifted high singing, “My every stain is washed away. I am forgiven.”
Clearly, this man did not understand what “forgiven” truly meant.
Instead of receiving genuine forgiveness, he chose to carry the heavy weight of guilt that comes with a decision such as this —for over sixty years. Rather than receiving forgiveness from the only One who can wash the stain away, this man and his wife bore this burden of sin on their shoulders. All. These. Years.
Standing next to him, tears streamed down my cheeks. I wept… Just as Jesus weeps when we refuse to accept the free gift He has given us- forgiveness of our sins.
When Christ died, He died for ALL of our sins. Not just the ones we can admit to. He died for the ones we are ashamed of. The ones no one else knows about. The sins we have carried for years and years. Like this man. And his wife.
Mathew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I don’t know what you are going through. Or what you have done. But forgiving yourself is a choice that only you can make. Don’t waste another minute holding on to unforgiveness toward yourself.
Before you ever asked. Before you ever sinned, Christ forgave you.
For the abortion. For the divorce. For the abandonment. For the abuse. For the words. For the thoughts. For the actions. He has forgiven you… For everything you have ever done and everything you will ever do.
The only one left remembering… Is you.