Have you ever sat down to enjoy your favorite, mouth-watering meal and stopped half way through, got up and walked away satisfied, content and blessed? That is what half eaten forgiveness is like: it’s really not satisfying, life-changing or blessed.
Half-eaten forgiveness is taking a bite or piece of forgiveness, but not accepting it wholly, out of guilt or some other type of pride that resulted from a sin. This “pretend” forgiveness is not the real deal, it’s not receiving the “I knew what you were going to do and still died for your sins” forgiveness that changes us from the inside out. Accepting partial forgiveness is disguised as humility and sorrow, but it’s really just a matter of sticky, smelly pride. Like bubble gum declaring it’s ownership to the bottom of your shoe, it never lets you get very far in your journey of faith. You can’t go anywhere until you get rid of it. Pride tries to rip us off. For some, it steals years of our lives that we will never get back. Thankfully, God has ways of shining His light on this for us: we feel stuck, alone, confused. Freedom comes with a declaration of, “I have pride” and then, “forgive me Lord.” It’s that easy but boy are we some stubborn people at times, at least us religious folk. 😉
Being forgiven shows up in your identity. You look fresh, and feel amazing and blessed. The danger of pride is that it keeps us stuck in half-eaten, pretend forgiveness, always wanting to earn part of it. This is just as annoying as gum stuck to my shoe, as pride has no place in God’s gifts to us. Instead, we are offered true, whole forgiveness where:There is power to really change our lives, it is satisfying to the depths we long to be filled, it stops the striving and leads to a life “blessed by God”.
Whole forgiveness has the power to really change our lives. You don’t have to be “unsaved” to experience this half-way forgiveness that ultimately is created by humans: us. It happens to the best of us. The really spiritual too. Basically, it is a way we can operate that doesn’t allow us to grow, to have our lives transformed. We think only accepting forgiveness for salvation is a way to lessen the blow to Christ. We picture our ongoing sins as a continual beating of Christ on the cross, making Him pay over and over. When really, our continuous and foolish choices have already been paid for, once and for all. Willingly, we take a huge bite into justification and leave the sanctification on the plate, scared that forgiveness after being “saved” might be too much to ask. Pride creeps in. Truth is louder still: the power that changes us is in the daily forgiveness just as much as in the saving forgiveness, dear heart. Ahh, take a deep breathe here with me. So much power is ours in Christ, letting go of pride is the first step. This power boasts of changing our bad habits into good ones, freeing us from sins grasp and living with joy each day. We have the power to be women who are transformed continually by the power of Christ.
Whole forgiveness stops the striving and leads to a life “blessed by God”. Without whole forgiveness, we have to strive and are not able to enjoy his grace as a free gift. Let’s look at some of the antonyms of forgiveness, or what forgiveness is not: condemned, accused, blamed, sentenced, charged, punished. Do those sound like a blessed life to you? Should we pretend though that we have never felt those things as a Believer? I have. Many times too often– when I did something I knew was wrong I felt that somehow listening to the voice of the enemy would be an appropriate thing to do for my “punishment”. I wasn’t willing to just grab a hold of Christ’s forgiveness, without paying a punishment because you guys, I knew better. But God has news for us: He is the Ultimate Knewer-Better (yes, I know I made that up and it’s ridiculous)! He knew we would do everything before we did it. He knew that after we accepted Him that we would screw up again. He knew that we would wrestle with condemnation and fear and shame after each sin. He knew our hearts before we entered the deception of the world. He knew our spirit wanted to choose right, but our flesh would win some battles. He knew it all and still chose to give His life for us. So can we settle that just because “we knew better” that we can only accept half of His forgiveness and grace. Are we supposed to let go of our pride and be loved in our weaknesses, in our failures? Is there such a thing? If so, I would bet that this kind of love feels like a million pounds being rescued off a heavy-laden, worn out heart. That’s me. Sometimes I go back to the place I was delivered from so many years ago and sit among the lies of the accuser’s doorstep and the only way I find my way home is by collapsing into His undeserved grace.This is the place where God pours out blessing upon blessing in our lives.
Whole forgiveness is satisfying to the depths we long to be filled. We long to be pardoned and enjoy the benefits of that and we are allowed to! It means God has cleared our record of wrongs: intentional and deliberate choices that have caused us harm or others. He has made an excuse for us when we had none to offer. God has decided in all of His wisdom to overlook what we have done. See, it never was about us anyway. It was never about what we did do or could do. This has always been about who He is, what He did, and how that blesses us beyond belief. Out of this place, we worship God. He has been the first one to purge out our consequences in exchange for grace. He is the author of releasing us from the shame of what we did. That guilt that exists because of our mistakes, is so mercifully wiped away. Gone. You don’t have to carry shame or guilt any longer sister. “But you don’t know that I ‘knew better’ when I did this thing..”, oh… but sweet friend, He knows all things. Before you could even get to your bad mistake, Jesus already knew you would choose it over Him. He is not surprised, He knew all things and still chose to give His life as the penalty of our choices. He wanted to free us from the condemnation that we are so easily strangled up in. God wants us to release the guilt and shame just as He has released our sins so freely, so relentlessly. This is the most satisfying place to live.
Our God is always the Victorious One when it comes to thumb-wrestling, but also mind-wrestling. His love will always overcome our condemning thoughts. His love will always wrestle us to the ground until we cry out, “forgive me Father, I willingly accept it.” This is when the weight of all you have tried to carry “because you deserved it” flees faster than you’ve ever known and you enter in, deeper, sweeter, humbled, fulfilled. No more focusing your eyes on you, your sin, your life– but on the One who is worthy. The One who loves the sin out of you. This friends, is forgiveness. It’s the picture of a God who wants a relationship with the ones that He knew everything about beforehand and still chose us to be called His.
So eat the whole meal. Eat it up, lick your fingers and be satisfied. Let this forgiveness change your life. Don’t try to make sense of it but accept the too-good-to-be deal that He’s offered you and just walk in it. It’s the greatest thing you will ever take hold of in this life.
God has wiped your slate clean sister. Your identity can radiate the fresh look of forgiveness instead of pride, guilt and shame.Go shine girl! You are free.
- What has stopped you from eating the whole blessing of forgiveness?
- How does forgiveness play into your identity?
I’d love to hear below!
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9