Have you ever sinned against God, and afterward struggled to receive His forgiveness and restoration afterward? Let me explain this further for the purpose of this article today. This is a situation where you sin against God. Usually this involves a sin which unfortunately you’ve committed before. That is what makes this so hard. After you sin, you are convicted of it and confess it to God as sin. THEN THE BATTLE BEGINS! The battle is to “feel” forgiven. You struggle with this for several reasons. What I want to do for the next several weeks is to look at this battle from a biblical viewpoint. It is my hope to help us understand that the forgiveness that we long for is not something that is to be felt first. It is something that is “known” because of facts that have been told to us by our God. Based upon these facts we can first KNOW that we are forgiven. The process then works in such a way that our knowing forgiveness will eventually become “feeling forgiven” in the end. But regardless of whether we feel forgiven or not, we must rest on the fact of our forgiveness based on the justice, righteousness, and grace of God that is freely given to us in Jesus Christ.
Ours is a “feeling-driven” society. Far too much of what we embrace is based upon how we feel about it. I’ve watched people commit marital suicide based upon how they feel about their spouse. It begins with them not feeling the love any longer. A popular song by the Righteous Brothers puts it in this “not so righteous” way, “You've lost that lovin' feeling, Whoa, that lovin' feeling, “You've lost that lovin' feeling, Now it's gone...gone...gone...wooooooh.”
As a result of losing that “lovin’ feeling” distance is justified—a lack of communication is embraced—a lack of loving action begins—and further loss of lovin’ feeling is experienced. The more these emotions are welcomed and considered true—the more distance and foolish behavior becomes normal—the end result is either an affair or divorce. The wild thing is that the same is too often true in our walk with God. Consider this: “You’ve lost that forgiven feeling, Whoa, that forgiven feeling, “You’ve lost that forgiven feeling, Now your gone . . . gone . . . gone . . . wooooooh.”
Spiritually, too many have lost that “forgiven” feeling—and in the end they wind up going days, weeks, and some years before they truly return to the Lord. They believe that this “not quite forgiven” feeling justified distance from God—no communication with Him—choices for ungodly actions—and eventually a fully backslidden, out-of-fellowship condition. Ever been there? I know I have in the past. What changes this “feeling-oriented” forgiveness is basing things NOT on my feelings—but on the fact of what God has said. I cannot guarantee that this is an easy thing to do—oh, but how it delivers us from a yo-yo like faith and walk with God. Let’s join together for a few weeks an examine what is means to have a biblically based forgiveness—one that will overrule our emotions and provide stability for our walk with Jesus.