" Forgiveness "

By Michelle Self

Scripture Reference:  1 Corinthians 15:5

Sin is so many things I try not to describe, to avoid sharing let alone think about it. I’m not proud of my sins, and even saying them long enough to ask forgiveness for them is difficult, even though I know it’s necessary. I think part of it is because I’m not sure I feel like they’re ever really gone. Have you had a time in your life where something reminds you of the guilt you have for a sin that you’ve asked forgiveness for? Like a reminder of fault. God has tried to convince us that HE does not hold us captive with our sins, in fact, Psalm 103:12 states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” If we state our sin and ask Him to forgive us, it is gone, but our very human brains trick us into picking up that guilt again.

So what is sin? What does it mean? The Lord provided us with a perfect description. Check out Galatians 5:19-21. It’s not only a description, it’s a list: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. That is quite a list! God knew we would sin .. most likely every day! So He provided a way erase that sin, to lose it.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s right, Jesus came one time, for all people! What is our role in it? To seek God’s forgiveness that was made possible by Jesus’s death. Still, it kinda blows my mind to consider that He will just, “poof,” take my sins and make them disappear. But you know, He replicated a common human experience that we can relate to forgiveness – weight loss.

So let’s imagine this together. A person chooses to implement a diet, like me. There’s a reason I might choose to: Due to health or appearance or need or just to feel better. Whatever the reason, it’s important enough to put old habits away for healthier habits. A “diet,” a change of habits or choices that enable one to take in less calories than is burned to lose pounds, changes us. It changes our emotions and confidence and changes weight. That weight can feel like the weight of the world (any of you who’ve struggled with weight loss, fat may seem like it is the weight of the world at times). So now we have the full situation, right? Here we are, lugging around an extra 20, 35, 50, 100 pounds, and we’re tired, joints hurt, clothes don’t fit, and we know why it’s so. Enter, a health plan of sorts … change some bad habits into positive, healthy choices! Oops! Don’t step on that 5 pounds I just dropped!! If you’re like me, wait until you feel some of that success and I dare you not to feel awesome about it! Makes you want to drop another pound, or 10! And before you know it, you are buying a smaller size! What??! You’re doing it!! You will be feeling like a load has been lifted off you as you continue to make healthy choices, lose weight, and grow healthier. Look at the weight you’ve given up to gain so much, especially health!

Now, let’s change the plot. A sinner. And for those of you who’ve sinned, I would imagine you’ve felt that same hopeless and depressing feeling a person who wants to lose a lot of weight feels when they don’t know where to begin. Knowing you’ve got that sin to drag around like an extra 100 pounds. You think you can handle it – and you can, for a while. Maybe for months, years, or even a decade or two. But just like an obese person who longs for a former quality of life and chooses to lose weight … a sinner has to lose something too: Guilt – Shame – Sadness – Difficulties. When you give all that up, you gain so much more!

Just like weight, when sin is gone, it’s gone. Have you ever thought of that? Look at a picture of someone’s before picture compared to their after when 40, 60, or more pounds are gone. Where did it

all go?! That’s right, it’s gone. Poof! Vanished. Just no longer there! When God forgives our sin, poof! That sin is as if it never existed. Sure, you may have consequences you live with due to a sin, but the sin itself – the black mark on our hearts – is gone. As if it never existed.

He says in Colossians 3:5, “Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.”

But if you’ve experienced these things in your life, if you are sick with sin, take a moment and speak with the Great Physician. He told us that if we confess our sins (choose healthy foods and make healthy life-style changes), He will forgive our sins and remember them no more (we will drop pounds and fat will DISAPPEAR!). Check out Hebrews 8:12 and 1 John 1:9. It’s there in black and white.