"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)
Forgiveness has been one of my greatest challenges. Not the being able to forgive others kind, but the being able to forgive myself. It has been so hard to rid myself of the guilt laden memories that keep coming back to haunt me even though I know I was forgiven the day I laid them down at the foot of the Cross.
A few days ago, I had a sudden flash of insight as I read a devotional by Kenneth Copeland, entitled Let Your Life Begin Again. It was a devotional I have read several times before, but this time the words jumped out at me and spoke to my heart in a way I had never fully grasped. The moment you make Jesus Lord and accept His free gift of salvation, you are born again into newness of life. That very instant, your past is wiped away and you become like a new born babe with a clean slate. HELLO!!! I've known this for about 18 years now, but I guess I hadn't really absorbed it the way I should have.
With great excitement, I spent several hours dredging up every memory I could possibly think of that could produce guilt or unforgiveness, made a list several pages long, ripped it up, put the pieces in a pot in my kitchen sink, and lit a match to it. As I watched it burn, I madly waved a towel back and forth for fear that the smoke would set off the smoke alarm. Then I flushed the ashes down the toilet while replaying snippets of Scripture in my head such as, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18); "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).
I had to flush several times, because just as my memories had kept coming back to haunt me, some of the ashes kept resurfacing and floating on top of the water. But persistence paid off. The last ash finally disappeared, and with it the last residue of guilt that had plagued me for so long.