Can God Forgive Me?

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Can God Forgive Me?

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I grew up in a nice home, in a typical family, in a suburban neighborhood. We attended the local church and were good friends with our neighbors. Even though I was not sheltered, I was a naive child and lived in a Pollyanna world. This was my early life. It was a good one and I was happy. Then, as if overnight, it all changed. My life went from normal and happy to crazy and sad without warning.

My parents got a divorce; my father started dating and my mother began to drink. Life would never be the same for me and it was scary. My siblings and I were on a new track and for me the destination was very unclear.

My mother started drinking whenever she wasn’t working. She worked in the morning, drank, worked in the evening and then drank some more. She was rarely home and we had a lot of time to ourselves to do as we pleased.

My dad’s visits became shorter and shorter as he started dating, and he became the constant enemy of my mom. I grew more and more distant from both my parents and began to seek out support from others. At age 11 I began hanging around with older girls who introduced me to smoking; and before I knew it, I was a pack-a-day smoker.

As time passed, I grew farther away from my family, especially my dad. I filled the void by spending my time with boys and going to parties. It wasn’t long before I was regularly smoking marijuana and drinking. I started having sex at the age of 13. I never wanted to be alone, so I kept a boyfriend close at hand and never broke up with one boy until I had another on the hook. I jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend.

Continuing a downward spiral

It is not surprising that I soon tried smoking hashish and taking downers. Because of downers and supplying them to someone else, a boy almost died and I was listed as a pusher in my junior high school.

Things continued to spiral and at the age of 16 I turned up pregnant. I went to Planned Parenthood and they confirmed the pregnancy and then gave me counsel ... if you can call it that. They pretty much told me to abort and said little to nothing about adoption or keeping my child. Although I was scared by what was happening to me, I was more afraid of my boyfriend’s and my parents’ reactions. So, just before my fourth month of pregnancy, I had an abortion. No one except my boyfriend and a couple close friends knew what I was doing. My boyfriend and I skipped school and headed downtown to a clinic located in a basement. They gave me a pill that made me have horrific cramps and later vacuumed the life away from within me. The next day I returned to life as if nothing had happened.

I continued to have illicit sex and do drugs into my 20s, although by then I had added cocaine, crank and other kinds of speed. I also sampled various other drugs along the way and there is more, which I don’t need to go into here to make my point. Everything finally came to a climax one night as I hung over a toilet; bleeding profusely from the nose and vomiting, unable to get up to my feet. At that moment I realized I was going to die. Whether that was true or not, I will never know for sure, but I believed it at the time. I broke into prayer as I wallowed there in the bathroom. I begged God to spare my life and if He allowed me to live I would give up my ways and clean up my act. Well, it was not long before I was up and back in bed, shaken, but recovering. Although I still occasionally smoked pot, I was pulling myself together and quite quickly at that. I am sure God helped me through that night.I had always believed in God and had visited many different churches over my life, but never found a place for myself. I read my Bible and was questioning much of what I read. It didn’t seem to jive with what I was learning at church. So I gave up reading and attending church. Plus I would never have to deal with the feeling of God not accepting me like I was and the guilt I always felt sitting in church. A sermon could send me into tears. Problem solved, right?

Turning my life around

A few years later I discovered the truth via a religious television program that led me to Church. I was instantly struck with how different it all sounded and I started to study intensely. It was through Bible study, church attendance, fellowship and prayer that I learned how forgiving God is.

God knows that when we depend only on our carnal selves we will ultimately fail, and fail miserably. That’s why in Acts 2:38 Peter says to “repent and be baptized ... in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (New International Version throughout). It is only with God’s help and the gift of the Holy Spirit that we are able to overcome. Also in Acts 3:19 it says: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”

Psalm 37:39-40 says: “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their refuge in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”

God gives us every opportunity to turn ourselves around, to make our way onto the right path. We just have to face our troubles and put them behind us. We have to empty ourselves of our evil, carnal ways and replace it with God’s Spirit, filling our lives with the ways of Christ. We all sin, and there is no way around that. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Can we then be forgiven of the sins we commit? Yes, we can if we are only willing to change.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we read that we must not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, etc. will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but in verse 11 it states that this is what some of us used to be. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

When I decided to turn my life around and give it to God, I was forgiven for my past. Many who read this may feel that their lives were not as bad as mine was. Others may feel their lives were worse. But whatever the case, the point is, that you can be and will be forgiven if you are just willing to change and give yourself over to God. If you look within yourself, you will probably find that there has always been a bit of yourself trying to follow after Christ, trying to do what is right.

As I said before, I always believed in God and even at my worst I knew I was doing wrong and working God out of my life, but I was unwilling to give up my way of life at that point. The funny thing is that if you had asked me about it then, I would have claimed that I was a Christian and even been willing to discuss the Bible with you as if I was very knowledgeable. I was blind then, but somehow I knew that God was nearby, even if He was out of reach to me. I was also spending a lot of time punishing myself for things I had done. I couldn’t reach out to God. I didn’t believe He would be there. I didn’t believe He would forgive such sin.

It was only when I gave up the carnal way and started to walk as Christ walked that I became stronger. In 1 Peter 1:15 we read, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.” I learned that only after trying to do this could I have my eyes opened up to God’s truth. Each year that goes by I become a bit wiser, I become a better person. I have a long way to go and will never accomplish it in this life, but at least I know that I can put it all behind me. Never forgetting, but never returning to it.

I thank God for my life now and I praise him daily, for I know that He loves me, He cares for me and protects me. Just as the prodigal son returned to a loving father, we can return to God, or come for the first time. Sometimes we turn away from God and stop living by His law. We must realize God is always happy to welcome us back.

Can God forgive me? He already has!