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There I was. Again.

In my bedroom. Face down and on my knees. Crying out to God to forgive me.


It’s like I don’t trust Him when he says He already did that. It’s like I treat Him as if He’s common, not the almighty God He is and incapable of mercy. Mercy that He so freely gives. Mercy that He sent directly to me in the form of His beloved son. Not because He had to, but because He loves me even though I am still a sinner. A sinner in need of mercy.

So, there I was in a scene that could have been stuck on rewind. Disgusted by the things I’ve done, the things I’ve left undone and the crippling doubt that I am lovable because of those things that I fight nearly daily. Through my tears I waited. I wanted God to show up, touch my heart and tell me He loved me and that I was forgiven yet again.

But He didn’t do that.

Instead He took my sprawled out hand and said, “Why are you so quick to forgive others and yet here you are again not forgiving even yourself? I forgave you the first time you asked. You don’t need to ask again.” Sometimes I hate it when He wants me to find the answers to my own questions. But He’s such an amazing teacher that way!

God gave me the spiritual gift of mercy. It’s a gift I treasure, yet sometimes it bothers me.  That sounds strange, but the truth is that sometimes I don’t understand when others are so quick to condemn. I truly ache. It hurts me when punishments are handed down and justice is served. Even for heinous criminals I’m the girl who gives second chances out like nickels. I really did have a hard time understanding this gift. I felt it made me naive and somewhat of a pushover. Then one day a friend of mine said, “It’s hard to understand because forgiveness like that can only come from the throne of God.” That’s when I finally began to ‘own’ my gift.

But God’s question remains. Why am I so quick to forgive others when I can’t even forgive myself? Why do I find myself asking for forgiveness over and over again for things He forgave me for the moment I asked?

The answer came in a whisper. But it was the wrong voice I was listening to.

Satan knows and delights in my weaknesses. The Lord knows and delights in my strengths. Satan’s whispers tear me down. The Lord’s whispers build me up. I have been allowing the wrong whispers to consume my thoughts.

Unforgivable. Unlovable. Sinner.

Those are a lie. And I believed them. I believed them to the point of separation from the truth and crippling guilt.

Forgiven. Unconditionally. Redeemed.

Those are the words straight from the mouth of my Savior. Those are the words of truth. Those are the words I struggle to believe but they are the very words that set me free.

It’s a choice I have to make every day because I believe more than ever God’s children are under attack. Satan knows he can’t have me, though he so desperately wants me. He can render me useless and ineffective for the kingdom if I let him. But I choose to listen to and believe the voice that tells me I can win the fight against feeling unloved. I can win the fight against feeling condemned. I can win the fight against feeling oppressed by my own transgressions and that there isn’t anyone out there to help me. Because there is.

I have my Father who is quick to forgive and slow to anger. One who holds my hand when I am my own worst enemy and fights my battles on my behalf. Every moment of every single day.

All I have to do is ask. Once.


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Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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