There are times when we just don’t feel forgiven that our problem is that we are working on the basis of our feelings rather than our faith. But there are other times when this happens that there is something deeper going on that blocks forgiveness. Until that blockage is removed, we will not experience the joy of forgiveness—or at least the joy of restored fellowship with God.
The Bible speaks of things that bring a barrier between us and God. One of those things, according to Psalm 66:18, has to do with where our eyes are—or better said at what we are aiming. The psalmist said the following, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” We see from this verse that there are things that will keep us from hearing God—even in regard to knowing and “feeling” forgiven. Let’s look deeper into this in this week’s article.
What does it mean to “regard wickedness in our heart?” The word for “regard” is the Hebrew word “raah” which means to see. Here the word speaks of our sight in reference to aiming at something. Another way of saying it is that whatever we are seeing is “in our sights.” Imagine either looking through a scope on a rifle—or down the barrel of our gun. We are “sighting” in our target. Other things may be in our peripheral vision, but there is only one thing in our sights. We are aiming at something—and it is the main thing in our vision pattern. That is where we are aiming.
Our Psalm speaks of having wickedness in our sights. Here is how this relates to “feeling forgiven.” We may confess our sin—and even feel bad about it—but the problem is we do not want to forsake it. The truth is that even in our confession of sin—what we did or what we want is still our aim. We continue to have that person, that action, the desire in our sights. When that happens—our prayers—our confession goes unheard by God. He is not looking at our words in this, He looks at our hearts. We may confess our sin—but there is no real intent on turning from it. If we do this there will be a very distinct sense that we are not forgiven. God is not hearing us until there is a true turning from our sin. John said in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Note, God wants to do 2 things—forgive sin, cleanse from un-right activity. If our “sights” were not altered—there was no real confession of sin. Confession involves not just being sorry for it—but genuinely wanting something different. So, if you’ve not changed your target—from sin to righteousness—from ungodly choices, words, actions, and attitudes—to godly ones—you won’t “feel” forgiven.