Q: When I was younger I did some pretty bad things, and the older I get the more guilty I feel over them. I want to ask God for forgiveness, but I haven’t because I honestly don’t believe he’ll forgive me. Why should he? I can’t even forgive myself. — R.M.
A: God is willing to forgive you for one reason: He loves you. If he hated you, or if he despised you because of what you’ve done, then you wouldn’t have any reason to expect him to forgive you. But he loves you!
This doesn’t mean God overlooks our sins or pretends they never happened — because he doesn’t. Sin is serious; it is so serious that it separates us from God and brings us under his judgment. Yes, you feel guilty over what you’ve done, but even if you didn’t feel any guilt, you’d still be guilty. And this is true for everyone, no matter how good or bad we’ve been. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
But God still loves us, and he doesn’t want us to be separated from him forever. And that is why Jesus Christ came into the world. He didn’t come just to tell us how we ought to live. He came instead to provide the way for our sins to be forgiven. He did this by taking upon himself the judgment we deserve, through his death on the cross.
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Don’t carry your burden of guilt any longer, but confess your sins to God and open your heart and life to Jesus Christ. God cannot lie, and his promise is for you: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.