Jun 29

Grace and Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Image used with permission from Lisa Bliss Rush. http://www.lisablissrush.com

Grace and Forgiveness

The first time I listened to the People to People broadcast, I was blown away. The host, Bob George, would take questions from the audience that usually were about some scheduled theme.

The topic was on grace and forgiveness. Having attended church growing up, I’d heard these words tossed around but really did not know what they meant. I knew that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we could have a relationship with God and eventually make it into Heaven. That was about it.

Most of the time, I thought that God was angry or indifferent towards me. Because I was constantly screwing up, He had to be fed up or disgusted with me. The words,You have to get right with God, echoed in my mind all the time. How does anyone even do that? Humans sin all the time and we can never be perfect. Almost every decision I’d made up to this point had been wrong or resulted in some serious consequences.

And then I heard Bob say something like, “You don’t have to keep asking for forgiveness, you have been forgiven. Just say, ‘Thank you.’ and accept it.”

This was new; I’d never heard it put that way before. How many times had I tried to bargain with God and let Him down? How many times had I begged for forgiveness, thinking that God was still disappointed with me? How many times had I asked Him to come into my heart just to make sure it stuck this time, hoping it would change my self destructive behavior?

In conversation with another caller, Bob asked, “How many of the sins, that Jesus died for, were in the future?” The caller replied, “All of them, since Jesus died 2000 years ago.” This meant He shed His blood on the cross to forgive us for all the sins we would ever commit, before we were ever born. With every conversation, I was hearing a new message. My entire life, I must have been going to church spiritually deaf because, I couldn’t recall hearing any of these things.

Bob also explained that when we accept this forgiveness, God completely removes sin from us and that He can’t even see it anymore. We are considered perfect and holy in His eyes.

All of this was too much to handle. It was as if some kind of blindfold was ripped off and I could see everything in a new light. Bob backed everything up with scripture and I heard what he was saying but it was overwhelming. It didn’t occur to me to take notes. Because I was so absorbed by what I was hearing, I couldn’t go back and revisit any of this information. Fortunately, Bob had written a book called, Classic Christianity. Knowing that I needed more of this message about grace, I wrote a letter to the radio show and asked for a copy.

I did catch a verse, either at the beginning or the end of the show, that became a call to action for me:

John 8:31-32 (NLT)

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Bob George said that if the truth sets you free then the opposite is true, error will keep us in bondage. Not only was I physically in bondage because I was in prison, but it seems I was spiritually in bondage as well. Since the Word of God is truth, I needed to read it to break free. So, I grabbed my Bible and started digging in. This time, I wasn’t reading it just to get through it. This time, it was speaking directly to my heart.

The words began to chisel away all of the self-imposed ideas I’d ever had about my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I’d swear, it was like someone had come in overnight and re-written the whole Bible. Every verse I digested pointed to not just what Jesus did for me, but why He did it as well as what stood to gain from it.

Grace and Forgiveness (Click to Tweet)

Next post: The book and The Book…

If this is your first time reading my true life story and would like to start at the beginning click the title below.

The Fort Leavenworth Story

  • Alan Baierl

    Wow! This was a struggle that I faced in my mid 20’s after growing up in the church that was all about hell fire and a strict authoritarian God. It took me a while and I still struggle with a God that is full of love and grace.

    • David Mike

      I think we all do. Grace is so hard to accept, especially when it is divine and unconditional. Thank you Alan.

  • Angela Lacey

    I enjoyed reading that Mike, thanks for sharing.

    • David Mike

      I am so glad you took the time to read it! Thank you!

      • Angela Lacey

        My pleasure.

  • Steven Tessler

    Amazing words from an amazing friend!!

    • David Mike

      So glad I got to meet The Steven Tessler this weekend! Appreciate you!

  • This is a timeless post. Nothing but Truth.

    • David Mike

      Thank you Trey!

  • Forgiveness is the biggest hurdle many of us encounter. .and yet all we need to do is ask and accept. Great post..

    • David Mike

      I still struggle with it a bit even though it is years later.

  • I thought the same thing, and am just beginning to figure all of this out. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • David Mike

      Thank you so much for all your support. You have been a great help.

  • Michelle

    And then I heard Bob say something like, “You don’t have to keep
    asking for forgiveness, you have been forgiven. Just say, ‘Thank you.’
    and accept it.”
    Yes, and amen! So profoundly true and freeing.

    • dilemmamike

      Thank you! For some reason, your comment is not showing up on the blog.

  • 62buttons

    I read all of this, today. We were stationed at Ft Polk January 1987 thru June 1991. I was riveted as our paths must have crossed during that and now I stumble upon your story. Thanks for sharing. Many can learn a lot from your story. May your blessings continue.

    • David Mike

      Wow! It’s such a small world. Thank you so much for reading my story. I am hopeful that those who need to hear this message will also stumble upon my blog. The plan is to have this in a book by the end of the year. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

  • disqus_ronniej

    By ‘liking’ an artist whose work I admire, I stumbled onto your .com. I have read the above, and will re-read several times. Something in your story touches me deeply. Appreciate your transparency and honesty.

    • David Mike

      Wow, thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. I’m glad you found my story and that it resonated with you.

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