SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Some years
ago, an unwed teenage girl from a Christian home opted for an abortion. The
subsequent guilt cost her years of happiness and peace. She couldn’t
forgive herself, so she imagined a God who couldn’t forgive her either.
To protect the family name, the
parents moved to a different community and began attending another church.
Their daughter, however, couldn’t find the nerve to enter a sanctuary
for some time. She felt unworthy and condemned by both God and Christians.
In the years that followed, tears
of shame and remorse often filled her eyes. The emotional pain ultimately
led to a series of troubled relationships, feelings of insecurity and bouts
with severe depression.
I lost contact with the family,
so for me that’s where her story ended. But I’ll never forget
the grip that guilt and regret had on her. In her mind, she had committed
the unpardonable sin. As a result, despite her belief in Christ as her Savior,
she punished herself day after day for sins Jesus had already forgiven.
The young woman fell prey to a
lie of the enemy: She believed her sins were greater than Christ’s work
on the cross. She focused on yesterday’s mistakes, rather than embracing
Christ’s forgiveness and walking in today’s blessing.
If only she had claimed the promise
of Hebrews 9:14, which says the blood of Jesus will “cleanse our consciences
from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God” (NIV).
If only she had believed Jeremiah 31:34: “For I will forgive their wickedness
and remember their sins no more.”
I’m not sure where the woman
is today, but I pray someone passed along the words spoken by Jesus 2,000
years ago: “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of
sin” (John 8:11).
As followers of Jesus Christ, may
we be advocates of Christ’s mercy and grace. And may our churches be
places where every person can shed tears of repentance and find smiles of
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