DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know God can do anything he wants to, which means that if he wanted to, he could even forgive me for all the bad things I’ve done. But I could never forgive myself. I know I’ve hurt a lot of people, and I feel so ashamed and guilty. Is there any hope for me? — L.W.
DEAR L.W.: The most important thing you need to know is that God not only could forgive you, but he wants to. He loves you and doesn’t want you to go through life carrying a burden of guilt and shame.
That’s why God has done everything possible to make your forgiveness a reality. Yes, you have sinned; you’ve sinned against others, and most of all you’ve sinned against God. We often downplay the seriousness of sin, but sin is serious, because it cuts us off from others and from God. And we all are guilty, whether we feel it or not. The Bible warns, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
But God has provided the way for us to be forgiven — and that way is Jesus Christ. He was without sin, for he was God, but on the cross all our sins were placed on him, and he took upon himself the judgment you and I deserve. Now we can be forgiven, freely and fully, by putting our faith and trust in him. Why not ask him to forgive you today?
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Then ask God to help you forgive yourself. You can’t forget what you’ve done, but if God has taken away your sins, why act as if they were still there? And if you need to ask others to forgive you, let them know you now belong to Christ, and you’re sorry for what you’ve done and you hope they’ll forgive you.
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