“Lord, you’re so kind and tenderhearted and so patient with people who fail you! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness”.
Psalm 103: 8 TPT
I was exposed to sexual sin at a young age whether that was through voluntary or involuntary other people touching me inappropriate or through my own actions of indulging in sexual relations with guys. I lost my virginity when I was in the 8th grade, and from there I lived in sexual sin for 7 years. I grew up going to church, having a praying mother and believed that God was real and accepted Jesus into my heart at an early age. However, I was so focused on following a set of rules that I was missing intimacy with the Father.
It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I finally made the decision to walk in sexual purity before the Lord, and live wholeheartedly for Him. Even though God radically transformed my heart, those memories, each one, still tormented me. It’s like I repented of those things but still felt shame.
Maybe you can relate. It might be sexual sin for you, but it could be something else. What sin struggles or past memories makes you feel dirty, unworthy, embarrassed, shame, guilt, and disappointment? When you think about those things do they make you cringe with regret? Maybe you too feel certain memories tormenting you and feel as though you have to pay Jesus back with good works to make up for your mistakes.
Recently, God showed me a vision, and I saw Jesus reach out to me and say, “Come grab My hands”. In His presence I felt safe and calm. There was no judgment, just delight. As I began to pray, the Lord revealed a vision to me as if we were watching a movie. I saw one of those portable dry erase whiteboards and there was a person with an eraser standing beside it. Memories of me doing sexual things with guys began to pop up on the whiteboard. Everytime each memory would come up, I immediately felt dirty, unworthy, embarrassed, shame, guilt, disappointment and I wanted nothing more but for those memories to disappear.
Have you ever thought about something that happened to you, and you cringed? Like your face and body reaction of “ewwwww”. That’s how I felt every time I would think about the things I did with guys in my past. I have carried shame, trauma, and all types of baggage around from those experiences.
Here’s the great news! In the vision God was showing me it didn't stop with those memories popping up. Once, the first memory pops up, and the person erases it. The second one came, he erased it. Third one, gone. Another, he erased it and they kept coming and he kept erasing them, completely. And as I was watching this, still holding Jesus' hands, the Lord reminded me that I am forgiven and He doesn’t hold any of those memories against me. As each memory was being erased so was the shame, guilt, unworthiness and embarrassment.
The person erasing symbolizes Jesus. He has erased you and I sins forever. The beautiful thing about this is when the person was erasing those memories over and over. He wasn’t upset, agitated or filled with contempt. He was excited and filled with grace and delight. That's how God looks at you and I, filled with delight. He delights in you! Nothing can separate you from His love. Your relationship with Jesus is secured.
We as humans are not perfect so we will make mistakes and fail God. God did not create us to be perfect. So when you mess up don’t be afraid to run to Jesus and repent. He isn’t looking at you with discontent and disguise. But He is waiting for you to come to Him with all your baggage and brokenness. So fight through the pride and false narratives to get in His presence because He receives you with eagerness, gentleness and patience.
He is fully aware of our shortcomings, and still continues to overwhelm us with love and kindness. Our mistakes cannot separate us from the love of God.
I thought about titling this devotional “Crowned with Forgiveness” because Jesus does forgive us over and over again and the finished work He did on the cross wiped them away. But someone can forgive you and still hold what you did against you and keep their distance. But the beautiful truth about God is that He does more than forgive us, He pursues and loves us. And love encompasses a multitude of things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 talks about love: it is patient, kind, does not envy, not boastful or proudful, not easily angered, never fails, always protects, hopes, trusts and preserves and keeps no record of wrong.
Love not only forgives us, but it draws near to us, saves, redeems and pursues us even in spite of our past.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”. Psalms 103:2-4
Sweet friend, your Heavenly Father crowns you with love, mercy and grace. He is not holding anything you did in your past, today or even your future against you. You do not have to pay him back because we could never pay God back for what He did for us. Walk in the love and grace He lavishes bestowed on us as His children.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
Lord, thank you for your endless grace and mercy. You shower me with love day and night. Help me to accept your love, believe that I am forgiven and walk as a new creation in mind, body and spirit. You say in your word that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus because He came to save the world and not to condemn it.
Written by: Ashawrie White