"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Rom. 2:4, NIV)
It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. This goes against everything ingrained in us. We want to be punished when we fail. We want to pay for what we have done; then we feel released from our guilt.
Yet God extends His mercy to cover what should be our judgment. We don't understand that concept. We are more geared toward "an eye for an eye" and "a tooth for a tooth." We expect Jesus to reject us. But while the law and the accuser of the brethren always ask for judgment, the Spirit grants mercy. God draws us to repentance by His love.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36, NIV).
Even if you have never had your wrongdoings publicly exposed, I am certain that you have heard the voice of accusation. This voice comes when you find yourself in a place of shame. It is quick to point out your sin, even when you have humbled yourself in repentance. But the Son has set you free—now you are free indeed. Indeed means "truly and of a certainty." So you can leave condemnation behind you and walk in the light of God. If God says you are free, walk in that truth!
Our God is full of grace and mercy. He is rich in kindness toward us. It is not our job to punish ourselves for falling short. Instead, we confess and receive our Father's gift of grace so that we can live in righteousness.
If you struggle to receive the forgiveness of God, pray that He will renew your mind by His Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I ask You to teach me to forgive myself as You have already forgiven me. I have repented of my sins and turned toward Your grace. Now I set my mind not on my failures but on Your goodness. I am not the focus. You are! And I know that You are faithful. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace. In Jesus' name, amen.
Adapted from Be Angry But Don't Blow It: Maintaining Your Passion Without Losing Your Cool (Thomas Nelson, 2000) by Lisa Bevere.