If you whisper that frequently, then ask God because He will.
It’s the simplest thing; yet for so many (including veteran Christians) asking God for forgiveness can seem the most intimidating thing of all, yet it shouldn’t be. Asking God for anything should the most natural thing in the world for a Christian. Getting answers to those prayers should be too!
Here is how to forgive and how to ask God for forgiveness, so that you receive your request from Him and learn how to pray more effectively in line with His perfect will for your life.
FIRSTLY, forgiveness is foundational…
1.Ask God to teach you how to forgive by His Holy Spirit. Ask God to allow His love to heal and release you from bitterness towards all those that have not only harmed you in the past, but have troubled or harmed you TODAY.
Ask Him to teach you how to immediately spot seeds of bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness building up in your heart throughout the day and let them go by forgiving others.
A new sense of peace will enter your heart. Then after a while, no matter how others may initially hurt or cause you to react against them, after you’ve been trained by the Holy Spirit to maintain an ongoing attitude of forgiveness like this, great freedom, peace and joy will spring up and remain deep within you, always ready to bubble up and refresh and cleanse when you need it.
2.The flip side of forgiveness is just as foundational.
It is asking God to forgive you for your sins.
There are two things to remember here…
i) If you want to experience the healing power and joy of having your sins forgiven you MUST FIRST forgive anyone past or present who has hurt or sinned against you in any way (no matter how grievous).
This is vital because Jesus said that unless you do that your Father who is in heaven will NOT forgive you your sins either (Matthew 6 v 14, 15 NKJV).
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6 v 14,15 NIV)
Never forget, that because we have all fallen short of the glory of God, we have all grieved God so deeply that really His wrath should destroy us instantly, but because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross (with Jesus taking the punishment we should have had), we stand in a place where we can be RESTORED, healed and forgiven… there is just one small step God requires we must take first, before we can experience this healing restoration by God; we must forgive others.
Then the way is open for us, and we can ask God for forgiveness and get it immediately.
It goes like this…
First, we forgive EVERYONE else > then God will forgive us.
ii) For some of us though, it’s not so much asking God to forgive us which is the problem or forgiving others. Instead it’s our own sense of unworthiness that prevents us really feeling God’s forgiveness in our emotions that causes us heartache.
However, quite often the issue lies not in feelings or emotions at all. Instead it’s a simple case of self pity or worse still, unbelief.
No matter what you may have done… it’s TOO LATE to change it now, so the only thing you can do is MOVE FORWARD… unless you want to stay ‘stuck.’
The best way to move forward is by receiving God’s abundant forgiveness BY FAITH right now, and immediately tell yourself to stop wallowing in the mire of despair and self pity (if you are).
God says that when you confess your sins He IMMEDIATELY forgives you…
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” (1 John 1 v 9 NKJV)
Take hold of the scripture in 1 John 1 v 9, meditate on it and speak it out loud until it is crystal clear in your heart and mind. Then ACT as if it really were true… because it is.
If you act accordingly like this on a consistent basis, yet find that you still feel condemned, unworthy or guilty before God, then the issue lies elsewhere.
If that is the case, you next need to look at the work of your conscience. Learn why it is vital for you to possess and maintain a clear conscience if you want to receive answers to your prayers and know you are forgiven.
(Note: With certain issues, it is also important to confess your sins to ANOTHER human being, such as your Pastor, wise elder or Christian counsellor as James instructs in James 5 v 16).
Either way, as a Christian forgiveness is non-negotiable. You must learn to forgive, plus you must learn to receive forgiveness. Each aspect is an act of the WILL, executed by faith, and then bedded into your daily walk by prayer. Each day ask the Holy Spirit to keep you “weed free” in this area, in the sense of God being the Gardener who will keep your heart free from the poison of bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness.
It’s nice when there are no weeds!