My pastor really tried to give me assurance that I was in Christ. But the more I talked to her, the more I realized she and I didn’t believe remotely the same. I started to wonder about her assurance. “Are you really in Christ? Do you really know God, or do you just know about Him?” Suddenly, my perspective started to change. Maybe I really do know God because I have been seeking Him with everything I have. I am not seeking Him with my mind. I am seeking Him with my heart. I desire Him. I want to know Him.
I remember Rhett. He was an employee of our firm. He worked on a lot of my jobs. I remember he knew God. It was evident. He was full of love. It was this love I had never seen before. He wasn’t flirty. It wasn’t even a brotherly love. It was just this love—I couldn’t understand it. It didn’t have any judgment attached to it or anything. He introduced me to this thing called agape, which is unconditional love regardless of how you behave. If you are a sinner, no matter how much sin you are in, I love you because God loves you.
You know what? It is God’s kindness that leads man to repentance. It’s not man’s judgment. It’s not God’s anger leading man to repentance. It’s not God’s judgment leading man to repentance. It’s His kindness. That is how good God is. He is kind. When people experience His kindness, it leads them to repentance.
So I was able to learn from Rhett that there was this love available from God. I can have it and experience it. But the problem was that I still wasn’t really sure. Here was the roadblock for me. I didn’t understand the fullness of God’s forgiveness of me. But when I said yes to Him, He erased everything. I didn’t have to be at some place. I didn’t have to be perfected. I didn’t have to be changed. I didn’t have to change my ways. The moment I said yes, He erased my past. See, I had not erased my past. It was still on the hard drive of my mind. It was so evident; it would haunt me every day. I had so much regret, shame, and pain associated with my past that I couldn’t erase it.
One day I was in a Bible study with three hundred people, and the teacher talked about how Moses had failed and how God had forgiven him. At the end of his life, even though he couldn’t go to the Promised Land, God, in His love, allowed him to see where the people he had led for forty years would go. He let him see their future. “This is the prosperity all of these people will have that you have led them to. This is the fruit of your labor.” God used that moment and woke me up. He shook me, and He gave me this message: “If I can forgive Moses, I can forgive you.”
What He gave Moses wasn’t just forgiveness; it was grace. It was like a gift. He didn’t have to show him where those people were going. He didn’t need to do that. That wasn’t required. It was the love of God upon Moses. It is who God is. It is His character. He is love.
I remember I left there and took a pamphlet of assurance. I read it when I sat in my car. The rain was pouring down. I sat in my car and sobbed. I wept. I was like, “I forgive myself, God. I let it go. I will stop reminding You of my failures. I will stop speaking of my past sins because they have been erased. They are gone. And because I have sinned so much, I love You so much.” I literally spent one hour weeping with joy over it. It was a relief. It was literally as if no man ever needed to tell me I was assured. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I know to this day that I am assured of my salvation. I remind myself of it. That is who God is. He is in the business of forgiving and forgetting. I want to be like Him. I want to forgive and forget and not to build walls or change relationships with people because they have offended me. I don’t want to be one of those people who builds up a monument to their past with the way people have treated them or offenses taken. I want those things removed. I want to be loyal. I want to be a stayer, not a player.
When you forgive and forget, the past is gone. You can’t say, “I can’t trust you,” “I won’t hurt you,” “I can’t trust you because you hurt me,” or “I can’t trust you because you did this,” because you have forgotten it. You just continue on. I think it’s love and unity.
I get God’s kingdom now because I understand forgiveness and forgetting. Although my flesh is offended at times, it quickly gets out of it. It quickly resolves. It quickly forgives. It quickly gets back into trust. It quickly surrenders. After what God did for me, how can I not do that for others? How can I not live in forgiveness and forgetfulness?
I praise God for the assurance He has given me. If you are holding on to any guilt or shame, I want you to know Jesus came so you would not have to live in guilt, condemnation, or shame. It is not your portion. It’s not your prize. Your prize is freedom from it. You also have been forgiven. God has forgotten. Stop reminding Him of the sins you have done and the past you have because He remembers them no more. Man may remember and rub your nose in it, but God does not. And He never will. You are forgiven. It’s forgotten. And guess what? You get the opportunity to follow in His footsteps and ask Him for this same heart.
I ask, Father, right now, that You would make us all forgivers and forgetters in Jesus’ name.