Many times we fall short of the glory of God, and after asking Him to forgive us, we don't feel forgiven.
As a child, I was raised to ask someone to forgive me - not say 'I'm sorry'. And I was taught to say 'Yes, I forgive you' when someone asked me for forgiveness. But when we pray and ask the LORD to forgive us of the sins we commit against Him, we don't hear His audible voice saying, 'Yes, I forgive you'.
During a very dark time in my life, when I was trying to push my past completely behind me, I continually asked God to forgive me. Over and over and over again. But each time, I would feel like nothing happened. Nothing changed. Sure, the Bible says He forgives me, but how do I feel forgiven? How do I know?
Not knowing, not choosing to believe is doubt. And we doubt God's love and forgiveness because we have an adversary who uses every little offense to accuse us that we are unforgivable. The enemy constantly reminds us of our short-comings, our failures, and how often we ask God for forgiveness.
'You're good-for-nothing. You can't do anything right. How could God forgive someone who screws up as often as you do?'
I've had that nagging voice tell that to me before too.
But guess what? We have an Advocate, a Savior, a Friend, named Jesus Christ. He is more powerful than our enemy. He has cancelled out the debt that we owe God for our sins. He has forgiven our past, secured our present, and already forgiven our future. No matter what we do or in what circumstance we fail, God still loves us. He is our Father. The best Parent in the universe. When one of His children falls, He picks them up, loves them, and accepts us as His own.
'Knowing that you are forgiven and accepted as God's child sets you free to face reality and choose the truth.'
- Neil Anderson
Falling hurts. And the pain is sometimes, seemingly, unbearable. But when you fall, you have the best Healer to pick you up. Someone who loves you so, so dearly that He is willing to pick you up, hold you, caress you, to tell you that He loves you no matter what mistakes you’ve made. No matter how much or how many times you’ve failed. God will never NOT be there to pick us up. He will never get tired of us asking for His forgiveness. Granted, that doesn’t mean we should continue on in whatever we’re doing. But if we make a mistake, He is faithful and just to forgive us. In fact, He already did. A long time ago, when He felt three spikes being driven into His wrists and feet. As He hung there - bleeding, in pain, and suffering from feeling all the dirty sin that He had never, ever felt before. He felt the wrath of God His Father being poured out on Him, killing Him. For my sins. For your sins. For all the mistakes and failures that you and I will ever make in life. All of that has been paid for, covered by His blood.
So the next time you don't 'feel' forgiven, try to imagine the pain He felt FOR you to be forgiven.
"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting a together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' They spat on Him and took the reed and began to beat Him o the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and let Him away to crucify Him..."
- Matthew 27:27-31