A message from Pastor James of the Road to Freedom program.
Addicts can often relate to the feelings of regret that develop once they enter a life in recovery. Oftentimes, this regret can turn into guilt, shame and remorse. While it is necessary to face the actions that occurred during active addiction, it’s also necessary to accept God’s forgiveness. Not only does God make His forgiveness readily available for us, He wants us to forgive ourselves as well.
How does forgiveness work?
You may question how God can so easily forgive you. You may even feel there is “one thing” you have done that is unforgivable, even by God. These are common feelings and false beliefs among those who are in early recovery. Luckily, we are able to turn to scripture to better understand God’s unfailing love and forgiveness towards us.
In Jeremiah 32, we read about the Israelites who have done horrific things. In these passages, God is taking their inventory. He lists the things they’ve done; surely to hold them against them and to write them off, right? Actually, He is doing the exact opposite. His reason for making that list is to showcase His forgiveness and His love for them. Here is the list:
- They have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days.
- They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds.
- My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return.
- They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple.
- They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom.
In spite of all God had done for them, the Israelites turned their back on Him repeatedly and worshipped false gods. They did this after God had rescued them from slavery to Egypt, and performed miracle after miracle. There was also something the Israelites had done that seemed too horrible to forgive. God describes it this way, “They sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech.” That’s right; the Israelites were literally sacrificing their live children to false gods. Here is what God said about everything the Israelites had done, including that “one horrific thing.”
“They will be my people, and I will be their God.”
“I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion.”
No matter what you have done, no matter how “horrific” it might be, God loves you and longs to forgive you.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”