As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12
When we say, “I’m sorry,” and mean it, that’s enough for God. He doesn’t beat us black and blue and require us to go on a thirty-day fast to supplement Christ’s atonement. He convicts us of sin to get our attention, but having done that, He wants us to move forward.
All accusations regarding confessed sin come from the devil. When you know you have applied 1 John 1:9, and you still sense an accusing voice over the past failure, mark it down: That voice did not come from your heavenly Father. It did not come from Jesus. It did not come from the Holy Spirit. It came from your enemy, the devil, who works either as a roaring lion to scare or as an angel to deceive—or both (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 11:14). Never forget, perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).
The sweet consequence of not keeping a record of all wrongs is that we let go of the past and its effect on the present. We cast our care on God and rely on Him to restore the wasted years and to cause everything to turn out for good. We find ourselves, almost miraculously, accepting ourselves as we are (just as God does) with all our failures (just as God does), knowing all the while our potential to make more mistakes. God never becomes disillusioned with us; He loves us and knows us inside out.
Having forgiven others, it is time to forgive yourself. That is exactly what God wants of you and me. It is long overdue: let the past be past … at last.
Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).