Fully Forgiven

Recently in these posts, I’ve been sharing some life hacks we can employ to improve our relationships with others; covering topics like, “forgiveness,” “how to properly apologize” and “words you should remove (and add) to your relationship vocabulary.” If you haven’t been able to read these posts yet or would like to again, you can do so via this link.

Today, it was put on my heart to also encourage and assure you that you have the opportunity to be fully forgiven.  Really.  No matter what you may have done or who you’ve done it to, how long ago it may have happened or even whether or not others have said, “I forgive you,” there’s a way that you can be freed from any guilt or shame about it.  And you’ll feel (and begin to act) better when you really believe this.

So many in our world, our familial and social communities, simply in our midst today seem to be carrying around what can, perhaps best be described as some sort of heavy burden.  It seems to basically affect their general outlook; their overall demeanor; to find its way into a lot of their interactions with others and most certainly their interpersonal relationships.  It’s like some hazy funk that, if you were to count the words and phrases that come out of their mouths and tally how many of them have an overall negative vs. positive tone, well…I think you get where I’m going.

And if we peel back the layers of this onion, more often than not, I’m betting we’d find that in addition to the fair amount of unrequited expectation, this “funk” is somehow related to either unresolved guilt or shame about something said or done or something that’s been left unsaid or undone.

And all of this I’m talking about is within the family of those who identify as “believers.”

So much so, that it seems to beg the question frequently asked by a psychologist friend of ours, “Tell me again about this Jesus you claim to believe in.”

As I’ve shared before and as many of you who know me have witnessed, music has had a huge impact on my faith.  I love having it in my life as a soundtrack and guide in addition to being both entertainment and inspiration.  And there are so many great songs that speak to the notion of the hope we can all take in what Jesus has done and continues to do for us.

One of these, entitled, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was written in 1922, by a woman named Helen H. Lemmel.  As her title suggests, there’s One we can turn to and look upon when the burdens of this world seem to overwhelm us and its lyrics and melody just popped into my head as I’m writing this.  It’s an older tune from most of our vantage points, but I’m wondering if it might resonate as familiar for you, too.  In just a brief excerpt, I’ll share what Helen writes in verse 1 and then the refrain:

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Oh, friend, whether or not you can hear the melody in your head as I do, aren’t these encouraging words?

…such a great reminder that there is One who loved us so much that He set aside His Heavenly Throne for a time to come and live among us, to teach us a better way and ultimately to take God’s punishment for sin in our place before returning to His rightful place in Heaven.

…how, that if we can get to the end of ourselves and our ridiculous need to think we might or should be fully in control of everything we experience; if we can just lay all of our past transgressions and resultant junky baggage at His feet and submit all of ourselves…every aspect of our lives to His Lordship… if we can just accept His free gift of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life in His presence…how much more fulfilling and joyful our lives might be…

…and how, without turning into Polly-Annas, our outlook and demeanor might begin to change such that people are happy and inspired to be around us again; wouldn’t that be better?

Friend, you can have that…every day for the rest of your earthly life.

Some of you already do, but just seem to have forgotten.

The apostle John, in his retelling of what we now know as The Gospel, shares; 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3: 16-17 NIV)

Knowing and fully believing that our sin has been forgiven should allow us to live new lives and cast brighter light.  Living as fully forgiven people because of what Christ Jesus has done for us will completely change our demeanors and dramatically affect the words that come out of our mouths and the way in which we “one-another” with one another.

I’d love for you to read the lyrics to another song that flew into my head as I contemplated this writing.

I pray they are as encouraging to you as they’ve been for me and will share an invitation with you after you’ve read (and/or even listened to/watched) it below.

Lyrics to Forgiven by Crowder

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips

God, I fall down to my knees
With a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done
I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen
Just the thought of Your amazing grace
And I cry “Jesus, forgive me!”

God, I fall down to my knees
With a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I could’ve been six feet under
I could’ve been lost forever
Yeah I should be in that fire
But now there’s fire inside of me

Here I am a dead man walking
No grave gonna hold God’s people
All the weight of all our evil
Lifted away forever free
Who could believe, who could believe?

Forgiven! Forgiven!
You love me even when I don’t deserve it
Forgiven! I’m Forgiven!

Jesus Your blood makes me innocent
So I will say goodbye to every sin
I am forgiven!
I am forgiven!

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Laura Mixon Story / Kerrie Roberts / Edward Martin Cash

Forgiven lyrics © Worshiptogether.com Songs, Sixsteps Music, Inot Music

And now the invitation I promised:

If you’ve not yet accepted Jesus in to your life as your Lord and Savior or if you’re feeling the desire to recommit your life to Him, I invite you now to do so, bearing in mind and taking to heart these words of John:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

(1 John 1: 8-10, 2:1-2 NIV)

Confess your sin and pray Christ’s mercy, grace and forgiveness in to your heart and soul.

Commit the rest of your life to Him and ask him to lead, guide and convict you.

Come back to Him regularly through earnest, humble prayer, submitting your will to be overtaken and aligned with His.

Learn to forgive yourself and move forward.  If you refuse, or can’t get past the guilt and shame you’re heaping on you, it’s like telling Jesus that what He did for us on the cross wasn’t good enough.

Instead, accept and be grateful for the sacrifice He made on our behalf and begin to live as a sinner whose debt has been canceled – who’s bill has been paid in full through the shed blood of Christ Jesus.

Celebrate the life you now have in Christ and, as you interact with others, let them see and witness your renewed, positive, hopeful and inspiring demeanor.

For, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see…(musical notes symbol)

 Right here with you,