“If you turn to God, God will forgive you.”
Reading the Gospel from Luke in this week’s Spirit, the line above jumped out at me. When it comes to God and forgiveness I have heard said, “Even before you ask, God has already forgiven you.” The verse above doesn’t say exactly that. To me today, I read into the verse that in some way I am turning away from God, and I need to turn toward God to show my intention, my desire to do better, my desire to be forgiven.
It is so hard to believe in the mercy of God because it is superhumanly generous. But I do. I do believe that God forgives me. I think I even believe that God forgives me before I ask. However, I like the way the verse from Luke above is put. Maybe for me to reap the benefits of God’s forgiveness, maybe for me to really believe it and live in the grace of it, I need to intentionally turn to God. I need to know why I need forgiveness. I need to ask. I need to turn.
I like the idea that I need to turn. I can’t just half-heartedly ask for forgiveness without changing my stance, my position, the direction I am turned. I can’t ask for forgiveness without making a change, without being willing to move.
But if I do turn to God, if I do turn, I will be forgiven. God will be there to embrace me, to offer me release from guilt toward freedom. With every new inhale, God will offer me a fresh start to be better.
Forgiveness is so hard. But God promises us that, if we try, if we turn, we have it. This is Advent freedom, hope and love of God. If God can forgive us, surely we can forgive each other. Surely we can forgive ourselves.
What relationships in your life feel broken or strained right now?
Who do you need to ask for forgiveness?
Who needs to ask forgiveness of you? Are you ready to give it?
What do you need to ask forgiveness from God for?
What do you need to forgive yourself for?
Who is it hardest to ask forgiveness from: others, God, or yourself? What is holding you back?
What would turning toward God look like in your life this Advent?
Do you believe in God’s forgiveness? Have you ever experienced it?
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