We all need God’s forgiveness

11/12/2013 5:57 PM

11/12/2013 5:57 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You keep telling people they need to have God forgive them, but I’m not such a bad person and I don’t feel any particular need to be forgiven for anything. Why should I pray for forgiveness? — B.N.

DEAR B.N.:

No one is in greater spiritual danger than the person who feels no need of God. And that’s your situation, for if you think you have no need for forgiveness, then you won’t ever bother to turn to God.

And yet (as I said), this places you in great spiritual danger, for it means you’ll never feel any need to have God in your life. But someday, we all must stand before God, and then the blazing searchlight of his holiness will illuminate every corner of our souls. Then we will be seen for what we truly are: sinners who stand in constant need of God’s forgiveness and grace.

Jesus warned that in that day, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2). Those are solemn words, and I pray you’ll take them seriously.

Don’t confuse true guilt with feelings of guilt. You may not feel guilty, and when you compare yourself with other people, perhaps it’s somewhat understandable. But God doesn’t compare us with other people. You may never have murdered anyone, but have you ever been angry at someone? You may never have stolen anything, but have you ever coveted what belongs to others?

I challenge you to ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you — as someone who falls far short of his standard of perfection. I challenge you most of all to turn to Christ and open your heart and life to him. Jesus said, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

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