Forgiveness in Jesus

Question from a Site Viewer
The following is a paraphrase of a question we received from a site visitor: I’m stuck in what I believe is a generational curse. I’ve spent a lot of my life being gay. But God has helped me overcome. I am getting married to a wonderful woman soon and I have accepted Jesus as my savior. But temptations are everywhere. I recently stole money from my work to pay for our wedding. I was caught and now owe my work a very large sum of money. My behavior is reflecting that of my ancestors. I feel all hope is lost. Can I still find forgiveness in Jesus?

Tim’s Answer
I read your story with some ache in my heart. Thanks for sharing it, as in so many ways it represents the story of us all. What you describe is precisely why Christ is so incredible to me. He understood before time began what we would be like and what we would do, and for that very reason He spread wide His hands, took our sins upon His broad shoulders, and died for us. He said:

“Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

Those who repent and come to Jesus will always find open arms and a warm invitation. And they will always find forgiveness in Jesus.

We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). None of us are perfect. To you, your sin may seem horrendous and overwhelming, something that taints you so deep that you can never escape. To Christ, your sin is like mine, and all of humanity. James says that if we offend in one point, we are guilty of violating the entire law (James 2:10). Your theft is no greater sin than my pride, greed or selfishness. And while you may be saddled with the earthly burden of repaying your theft, such fact does not distract from your standing before God. Many before you have done similar stupid things and had earthly consequences to face; but before God they found forgiveness and life. David, in Scripture, after his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, was told by God that David’s child would die (2 Samuel 12:13-14). And he did. Yet, before God David was treasured and loved and God holds him up as an example to us of a man after God’s own heart. This was because David, despite his sin, turned his heart to follow God. And God richly rewarded him.

My encouragement to you is to endure the trial of this great debt, do your best to pay it back, and live the rest of your life in pursuit of knowing and following Jesus. If you do this, you will find in the end a life incredibly rich and fulfilling in ways that money cannot buy and for which the rich of this world could only envy. Love your wife and family. Seek peace with all. Repay no one evil for evil. Pray to God. Commit your life to following Jesus. And you will find a life overflowing with the grace and goodness of the Holy Spirit.

You state that you feel as if God does not want you because of your sin. While you may feel this way, the feeling does not represent true reality. The entire mission of Christ was not to save the righteous, but to save those who have sinned. He came to heal the sick. Often, it is our own consciousness that condemns us, because we know we are not worthy. Yet, even if we had not done the thing we think is so bad, we would still not be worthy. He saves us, not because we are worthy, but because He delights in taking the unworthy and making us into the worthy children of God. This is the work of grace. As Paul states in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul then says that if God gave His own Son for us all, how will He not with Him freely bestow on us everything? (Romans 8:32) God wants us to walk with Him so that He can bless us with His presence and welcome us to His home in heaven.

You speak of a generational curse. When your generation goes back through Jesus, you need worry nothing about a generational curse. Jesus is our Father; we are His children. This is the great picture of baptism. We have died to what we were and we are now risen in newness of life (Romans 6:3-11). We have a new birth (John 3). Paul tells us that we have died that we might be freed from the control of sin. Therefore, for the Christian, the concept of a generational curse is meaningless. You will never find Jesus or Paul or Peter or John ever even hinting at such a thing. There is no curse to those who are in Christ.

You speak of your struggle with homosexuality. You are not the first one to struggle in this area. Some of the Corinthian believers were practicing homosexuals (1 Corinthians 6:9). But also some were sexually immoral, some were idolaters, some were adulterers, some were thieves, some were covetous, some were drunkards, some were abusive, and some were extortioners. When we come to Christ, our ingrained cravings do not magically go away. But as we learn to control our thoughts and to focus them on loving God and loving others, channeling in our minds all sexual desires to our spouses and not letting our minds wander into the “pleasures of sin;” as we retrain and renew the mind with the Word, prayer, and desiring God, we will find that God’s will is good, pleasant, and excellent (see Romans 12:1-2).

There has been a great deal written about how homosexuality is part of one’s genes. This seems to be accepted dogma in some circles although I have not found the evidence personally to be convincing. Nevertheless, whether it is or is not a matter of our genes is not the focus of Scripture. Biblically, we are not to be controlled by the passion of our desires, whether they are sourced in our genes or sourced elsewhere. Galatians 5:24 tells us to crucify (put to death) our passions and desires. Titus 3:3 speaks of the unsaved as being those who serve various lusts and pleasures. Romans 13:14 tells us not to make provision for the flesh to fulfill the desires of it. We are not mere animals. God has given us this thing called “self-control.” We need to exercise it to be better persons. We are able to choose what we think about through the indwelling Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). This takes time, but what we choose to think about is what we will ultimately become. So controlling our thoughts is important. We need to focus our thought life on heaven (Colossians 3:1-2). And if we do so, we find that we are different people this year from what we were last year, and different people ten years from now than what we are now. The transformation is like a growing tree; though not instantaneous, it is sure and and strong.

And, yes, though we are men, we are mere children who need God’s help. It is good to draw near to God at all times, to confess to Him that we are His children and we need His strength and help, and to obtain from Him the grace and strength to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

I trust that you will find encouragement in Christ. May you focus your hope on being with Him forever, and live here in a way that is a blessing to your wife, your family, and to all around.

May the Lord Jesus guide you into an ever-deepening relationship with Himself,

a fellow servant,

tim

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