Part I: What if I am the transgressor?
True story: A boxer who had killed a man in the ring was burdened with fear and guilt for years. His pastor told him that he was certain God had completely forgiven him. “After all,” the good reverend said, “You didn’t mean to kill him; you were just doing your job.”
Sin, in its English derivation, means to miss the mark. In other words, a mistake. Tried to hit the mark. Missed. Did it, but didn’t mean to. Meant to knock him out, not kill him.
Sins, mistakes, stumbles, even ones that hurt others, we can understand and forgive.
But, what of the person who is guilty in the deepest sense? The person who deliberately, knowingly, callously did something that hurt others? “Yea, I know it’s wrong; I knew it was wrong when I did it. What’s it to ya?”
People like the priest who molested boys for years. Or perhaps the bishop who knew about it and just kept transferring him to other parishes.
People like the pastor who divorced his wife for the love of another woman, or the megachurch pastor who siphoned an unconscionable sum to himself.
The coldhearted killer, the brutal rapist, the high-rolling swindler.
What would the boxer’s pastor have said to a young man who had deliberately gunned down a neighbor? “Can God forgive me? Am I going to hell?”
HEAR THIS: There is nothing, absolutely nothing, God will not forgive. The only unforgivable sin is refusing to be forgiven.
It makes no difference who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. No sin, no transgression is too big for God’s mercy.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)