I love when the holiday season brings in the first snow. (Even though I am not a huge fan of cold weather!) Everything looks so fresh and clean, and there is a certain excitement in the air. It always reminds me of Isaiah 1:18 "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." When the snow begins to melt and we track through it, the ground no longer looks clean and pure, but rather spotted and messy. In retrospect, it's a reflection of my life when things get blotchy and blemished. Until I allow God to remove the stains from my heart and clean up the mess, my soul resembles that dirty snow covered ground. I don't have to remain permanently soiled though, because God has promised to remove disgrace and shame from my life if I am willing and obedient. Christ forgives me and removes even my most in-erasable stains.
"I have swept your offenses like a cloud, your sins like a morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you." (Isaiah 44:22)
Forgiveness for me has been one of the most difficult concepts to grasp in my life. This is probably why it's one of the most difficult and greatest gifts to give. Un-confessed sin in my life comes between God and me and damages my relationship with Him. I must admit my sins to God if my relationship with Him is to be restored completely. I have learned over the years (through my continuous growth in Christ) that my survival depends on the application of forgiveness for me and others. Looking back over the years and the many things that I have done or that have happened to me, I have experienced such freedom when I surrender and let go of the past and focus on the present and the possibilities of the future. When I forgive, I may not change the past-but I sure do change the future! I have witnessed Christ's forgiveness more times than I can possibly remember because I have accepted His invitation to receive His mercy freely.
The results of forgiveness are happiness! Forgiveness has always been part of God's loving nature. In Psalms 32:1-2 (The Message) it tells us to "Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be-you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean. Count yourself lucky-God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from Him." :) I want to feel fresh and clean like the first snow, and make the choice to forgive unconditionally and bring myself one step closer to living a life of fulfillment, joy, and deep inner peace.