There are Christians who feel burdened and disheartened in their walk with God as a result of previous shortcomings in their lives. There are those people who feel guilty on a constant basis for sins committed in the past, seemingly unable to find joy in the forgiveness that He provides. There are people who feel hopeless, utterly beyond the point of redemption. Indeed, the fact that we cannot change our past is a difficult reality to accept. It haunts the minds of some people. A basic fact of life is that all decisions have consequences. However, this does not mean that all hope is lost. We must take responsibility for bad choices made rather than make excuses to justify them.
We do have the present, and can work to change our future (especially eternity) with God's help. He does love us. No transgression is beyond the power of His forgiveness. The salvation that He gives is complete, and without cost. We simply must ask Him to pardon our iniquity, even though it may be difficult or awkward to do so. We must trust Him at His Word. Our problem is sin, which is rebellion against God. It cannot simply be left unaccounted for. Sinners must either receive forgiveness from God or face judgement. That is the reason Christ came to offer Himself up as an atonement sacrifice. He paid an infinite ransom on our behalf, thereby enabling our redemption. This act in itself demonstrates the unfathomable depths of God's love for us. Consider the words of King David in the Psalms:
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8-14)
Those words came from a man who was guilty of murder and adultery. To be "slow to anger" means to not speedily express wrath. God gives people time to repent from sin. When God is said to "abound in love," it means His love exists in great quantity and makes itself known in action. If the Lord did not have compassion for sinners, then He would not have spared the Israelites who repeatedly turned against Him. He would not have spared David's life after the crimes that he committed. God would simply not pardon our iniquity. He is not under obligation to save us. Nobody is deserving of His salvation. The mercy of God has no limits.
Jesus Christ came to earth so that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness could live life more abundantly (John 10:10). The kind of life that we experience in His is a higher quality of life. It is spiritual life that God gives. We must turn not to ourselves, but to Him who resurrects the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9). We must entrust ourselves to Him. If one is still struggling with how God could possibly forgive his or her sins after reading all this, then he or she needs to consider the notorious example of the Apostle Paul:
"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:12-16)
If Paul, who even had the people of God sentenced to death, could be saved, then so can anybody else who calls upon the name of the Lord. If God can forgive two murderers, then He certainly has the power to forgive more. It was that same man who uttered these refreshing words:
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)