Oh wonderful forgiveness! There is no sin that God cannot or will not forgive if we call upon Him in repentance! He is a God who desires to express His lovingkindness and compassion towards us. He never changes. He brought you to salvation, and He desires to bring you into fellowship daily with Him.
I often tell a story at my retreats, but you may not have heard it. When Garrett and Nathan were 2 and 3, I found myself yelling a lot. I didn’t want to be a yelling mom, so I posted verses written on cards about anger all around the house and I would pray, “Please, God, take this anger away.” I would plead to be released from this habit. Then one day when I was asking God to take away the anger, He answered me, “Don’t pray that I take the anger away, but rather pray that I fill you up with so much of Me that there is no room for the anger.” That was the day that I quit having my five minute devotionals, and started reading God’s word and praising Him continually throughout each day. That changed my life. The yelling gradually became less and less with love and gentleness filling it’s place (most of the time!
“Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.” Psalm 25:4-7
If you are still remembering the sins of your youth, you are listening to Satan. He loves to keep us in false guilt and shame. If you have laid your past at the cross, you are forgiven. Shame should also be laid at the cross. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In Acts 10:15, Peter hears God say, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” Putting these two verses together makes us realize that God truly throws our sins as far as the east is from the west and as deep as the deepest sea and remembers them no more.
You should remember them no more as well. Past sins don’t have to have any power over you. You are free from them! If you still get dragged down in the guilt, recognize that it is from Satan and tell him to go away! James 4:7 says, “submit therefore to God.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hand, you sinners; and purify your hearts (through the blood of Christ)…Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”