People use so many excuses for not accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation.
Some say, “I don’t deserve to be saved!”
Here you are so very right! However Jesus loves you so much that He did it anyway!
Others say, “I can’t be forgiven!”
Here you are completely wrong! Remember 1 John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” NIV Once you genuinely repent and ask for forgiveness, Jesus guarantees that you are forgiven and that you are set free from your burden of guilt! All you need to do at that point is to forgive yourself!
Yet despite these Biblical truths, so many lead defeated lives because we continue to carry our own burdens of guilt. We continue to think we are unworthy of forgiveness. We continue to doubt Jesus’ saving power! What a slap in God’s face!
And when we continue to drag around our backpack of guilt, it only becomes heavier and heavier, until we find ourselves crumbling under its weight. Despite this, we continue to try to function under this handicap! Whenever someone tries to help, it is perceived as a threat. “Get away!” we shout. “It’s my burden, not yours!”
It is true that no one on earth can permanently alleviate our burden. But one day we eventually face the cross. We eventually hear Jesus say: “I died so that you could be set free!” (see John 8:36) We feel a gentle pull on our backpack, an attempt to relieve us from our burden. The weight seems to be lifting and we taste a glimpse to freedom . . .
But then we snap out of what appears to be nothing more than a wonderful dream, and we snatch our backpack of guilt and throw it back onto our shoulders: “It’s mine! Leave it alone!” We leave the sacred grounds listening to the cry of the One who paid the price of our freedom because we are unable to believe in His forgiveness, even less in forgiving ourselves.
At the arrest of Jesus, the New Testament refers to two individuals who were defeated: Peter, who adamantly denied knowing Jesus, not just once, but three times; and Judas, who betrayed his master. Peter ran away weeping, humbled and broken. He ended up embracing Jesus’ forgiveness. Judas wasn’t able to give up his guilt, to embrace that forgiveness. He ended up committing suicide.
There is a name for this inability to accept Jesus’ forgiveness, for this stubborn insistence on carrying the weight of guilt. It is known as “The Judas Syndrome”. Those who continue in the Judas Syndrome will have an end just as tragic as that of Judas!
But there is a way out, friends. Turn to Jesus. Accept His forgiveness. He died so that we could be set free. Our inner void will never be the same once we taste and accept His forgiveness. Eternity will be ours!
“Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5 NIV)
You can be forgiven. Believe it!
(To access the entire “Filling the Void” devotional series, please click here.)