Jesus offers freedom in forgiveness. Author Stephen Chbosky writes in the book turned film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, that “We accept the love we think we deserve.” In other words, how we view ourselves (our identity, value, and self-worth), has a big impact on how we engage in life. That’s why it can be so difficult to completely let go of our past sins, regrets, or even the harm others have done to us. It’s much easier to hold onto our pain and baggage, accepting the labels given by ourselves and others.
Let’s jump back into the story of Hosea and his wife (Read the full story in the Old Testament book, Hosea). I wonder if Hosea’s wife ran back to her old life of sexual immorality because she wasn’t able to fully embrace Hosea’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness? I wonder if she still carried around the weight of her sin and shame from her previously immoral life, rather than walking in the new identity Hosea was offering her as his bride?
Have you ever done that? No matter how hard you try, you just can’t shake the lie that you’re not worthy of ____love, happiness, purpose, worth, a healthy relationship___ (fill in the blank). Why? Maybe you messed up in the past and you’re letting guilt and shame keep you from moving on. Perhaps you heard that label or statement spoken about you so often that it’s hard to believe anything different is possible. Maybe you’ve had one door after another slammed in your face and you’ve internalized that rejection, believing there must really be something wrong with you.
Thankfully, there is no sin or shame or lie we’ve believed that is too big for the forgiveness of Jesus to redeem. Jesus accepts us as we are, where we are – when we come to Him with a repentant heart and surrendered spirit. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 speaks of becoming a new creation – “the old has gone, the new has come.” Gone is our sin and shame. Gone are the lies we’ve believed and gone is that former identity we’ve carried. The new has come! Praise the Lord!
If you’ve been holding onto the past, leave it at the foot of the cross. Go to God in prayer and ask for His forgiveness for your past, recognize your need for Christ to take over and thank Him for already taking care of that sin and shame on the cross. Make today the day that you finally step into the complete freedom that God’s forgiveness offers.