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Amazing grace

2658121670_cfb12e33c4I need to confess. As a struggling saint and expert sinner, there are times when the sins I have committed come to mind; thoughts or dreams of some distant memory, or some broken relationship, or unkind words spoken in haste and they will weigh heavy on my heart. What is really crazy is how long I will suffer over my sins without taking them to God.

Many times in my life, I know God must have cried as He watched me make wrong decisions and live out the consequences of those decisions. Then I would do everything imaginable except turn to Him, generally making an even bigger mess. Why is it that we have such a hard time trusting in His unconditional love? Our own children frustrate us, ignore us, and hurt our feelings but nothing changes the love that we have for them.

This brings me back to confession. I still remember telling my sons: just tell me the truth. Who broke it, or who hit who; come on, one of you confess. Finally one of them would speak up and the relief on his face was amazing. Years later I found out that they would take turns confessing, especially when they both were involved.

One of my sons told me how getting it off of his mind and just letting me know how sorry he was made him feel loved, because he knew that I would forgive him.

Today I watch my adult sons as they try to explain to their children why telling the truth and confessing will make you feel loved and forgiven.

Even more, it is our acceptance of God’s forgiveness that makes us whole. Once we accept God’s forgiveness, we are set free to forgive others, to heal broken relationships, to see the world in a whole new light.

Patti Austin, of Decatur, Georgia, is a churchwide executive board member.

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Photo by wilkristin. Used with permission.

Comments (8)
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Susan Drane says:
Jul 14, 2014

I clearly remember the first time I HEARD a sermon on forgiveness. It was so powerful to know that God does not forgive us the same way we usually forgive others. God never says, “I forgive you BUT if you ever do that again…..” I realized that I needed to change the way I forgive others. I learned that if I asked God to forgive me and I would never again add “but if you ever…”, I also learned that I should accept forgiveness and quit agonizing over whatever sin I had committed. What surprised me was that I am quite sure that this was probably a message in previous sermons but I had never really understood. I decided that I would have to open my mind to the lessons I am being taught so I could actually hear and understand future sermons.

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Julie says:
Jul 14, 2014

Seems so often we worry about the consequences of our actions to the point of making ourselves sick. Admitting what happened makes us feel clean again. Isn’t God wonderful? His forgiveness that we often find though the love of others is so powerful.

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Patti Austin says:
Jul 14, 2014

Susan, I think we each go through the agonizing. This year for Lent instead of giving up some material thing I decided to let go of every sin I could remember. Every morning during my prayers I would name sins that I remembered starting as far back as I could remember. This was quite an undertaking, especially the years during my twenties. After forty days, I was amazed at how they no longer occupied my thoughts or my memory. Of course, now each time I have a bad thought or say something not so nice it immediately comes to mind to ask for forgiveness.

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Patti Austin says:
Jul 14, 2014

Amen Julie, Amen
God is so good!

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Vickie Murph says:
Jul 14, 2014

Patti, I fall short so many times but God’s grace is so good. In happy time as well as hard times, God is with me. Thank you Lord!

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Patti Austin says:
Jul 14, 2014

Vickie, thank God we are Grace girls because we all fall short. He loves each of us because we are special. Remember when life becomes more than you can stand, kneel!

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Gwen King says:
Jul 16, 2014

Patti , you have taught your sons well. Thank God, God is open to forgive us! Where I struggle at times, is in forgiving myself. Accepting God’s forgiveness and letting the situation go can be tough at times, especially if I have hurt someone and caused them pain through something I said or did, unintentional though it may have been. This may be true even after I have gone to those persons, apologized and asked for forgiveness. Am I forgiven? I hope so, but I don’t know for sure. When I finally get there, that is forgive myself, I feel lighter and more open. More open to God, more open to others, and more open to me and the Spirit that lives inside.

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Patti Austin says:
Jul 17, 2014

Gwen, we all struggle with forgiveness even knowing that God loves us and forgives us. The problem comes in when we try to forgive ourselves. It must be a human thing, we can’t quite conceive this love that’s bigger than anything and a God who always gives us a clean slate.

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