Have you ever wanted to start over? Wish you could erase the consequences of your past from the minds of others? Wouldn’t you love a new beginning? God says you can!
One of the best verses in the Bible is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV)
Imagine! Old things are passed away. Or are they? So often we slip back into the old habits, and soon the old burdens weigh heavily on our hearts and minds. The Bible says we can be new! If you want a new life in Christ, consider these crucial steps to get you started:
Step 1: confess your sin
Romans 3:23-26: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifer of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Step 2: ask God to forgive you
Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Step 3: believe what God says in His Word
“Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Step 4: know that God loves you and keeps His promises
Romans 10:9-11: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
Step 5: forgive those who have hurt you, extend the olive branch and seek reconciliation with those you have hurt
2 Corinthians 5:18-19: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
What must one do to be reconciled with others?
There are events from the past that have brought sorrow of heart and soul. Proverbs 18:14 says, “a wounded spirit who can bear?” Sometimes we are hurting because we are the one that has caused hurt to another. Our guilt is ever present. When we have brought offense, naturally we want to be forgiven and restored. Yet, it is humbling to go to someone and seek forgiveness, but that is what must be done.
If you are the wounded one, then you know letting go of the hurt is very hard to do. There is sin in harboring hurt, because forgiveness has not been extended. Forgiving those who have wounded us may be difficult, but it is not impossible. The only way to put the past behind you is to confess that sin of unforgiveness before God. He is not unaware, but knows your heart and mind. He knows your struggle to forget the past and start over.
We have only to look to our Lord Jesus for an example of selfless forgiveness, for He forgave those who crucified Him on a cross. Consider His words from the cross as recorded by Luke (23:34), “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
If He was willing to extend forgiveness, even before His tormentors had repented, how can we not do the same? Consider Hebrews 8:12: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Our Lord demonstrated how to put Hebrews 8:12 into action.
Restoration of the offender is key to implementing the action and emotion of forgiveness. We can say we have forgiven, but actions demonstrate most clearly the truth of what’s in our heart. If you still remember the hurtful act that was demonstrated against you with bitterness of spirit, then you have not forgiven the deed.
Remember, the first step in receiving forgiveness and the gift of forgetfulness is humbling ourselves before our Lord and confessing our sin. Once that barrier of sin has been broken down, the door is open for us to receive forgiveness and the gift of forgetfulness from our Lord. Only then can we also extend forgiveness and the gift of forgetfulness to others.
Will you carry your sin and that of others into eternity? Or will you consider giving the gift of forgiveness and forgetfulness?