Pastor Michael Bowman
“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
How do you think of God? What do you think he is like? Do you think that he is watching every move you make just hoping that you trip up so he can punish you? Do you think he is looking for any opportunity to cast you out? Perhaps it’s because of the failure of our own fathers, or maybe it’s a misunderstanding of Scripture, but there is a common sentiment among believers that, if they are honest, they think God is generally disappointed and angry with them. Now, of course, this may be true in a limited way if you are living in unrepentant sin and rebelling against him. Still, as we’ve seen in the last article, God’s anger and displeasure are not the defining features of his character. God has revealed himself to be a loving Father, and that is shown in part by his readiness to forgive.
Here is a question: Would you be more likely to confess your sins to someone if you knew they were ready and willing to forgive you, or if you knew the only response you would receive is of displeasure, disappointment and maybe an end to the relationship? It’s a no brainer. We would all rather confess sins to someone if we knew rejection wasn’t the guaranteed response. Well, God is the kind of God who is ready and willing to forgive your sins when you will confess them to Him.
God wants his people to bring their sins to him to be dealt with. It’s not as though he is unaware of them. Our reaction to sin is often to try to cover our own shame and run away. Just like our first parents, we try to hide from God. This happens when we are focused more on the shamefulness of the sin than the graciousness of our Father. Sure, the sin is shameful; it’s supposed to be. It’s not a problem to be ashamed of sin. The problem is when we stop there. Shame is supposed to drive us to humble ourselves, pray to our Father and seek his face, not hide from it. When we respond in this way God says, “then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin.”
God is a God who wants to forgive; it overflows from his heart. “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (Ps. 86:5). Because of his goodness, his mercy, his grace, and his love, he is not waiting around to hold your sin against you. He isn’t hoping for you to fail so he can throw it in your face. He doesn’t want shame and guilt to be a weight that crushes you but a leash or tether that draws you back to him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
Don’t hide from the face of God. Don’t allow the lies of the devil to keep you from bringing your sin and shame and guilt to the heavenly Father. He is faithful, he is just. No, he will not by any means pardon the guilty, he will not deal lightly with sin, but in Christ he has made an end to all of it for you. Come, confess your sins to him, he is quick and ready to forgive.