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[The following is an excerpt from a FREE PDF book on forgiveness that’s yours just for the asking!]

Ultimately when God is talking about forgiveness of sin, He’s not talking about the quantity or impact of those sins. That’s how we think of things, but with God the individual sins you commit are not the problem. The darkened selfish and self-deceiving heart that committed those sins is the problem. That’s what we need to be freed from.

What we’re getting at here is the importance of confession.

Let’s say my 5-year-old son, James, colors on the wall, but denies it. Can he be forgiven?

Yes… and no.

Yes, Julie and I can still forgive the offense, clean up the mess, and forget about it. This is extending forgiveness… to whoever is guilty.

But if James never owns up to his crime, he can’t experience the forgiveness we have extended. He has chosen not to receive our forgiveness. Actually, He might not even feel bad about what he did. He may very well continue to go about life as if it never happened, but it did happen and he cannot truly be released from his guilt until he comes clean.

But what if we actually saw James color on the wall – what if we even tell him, “James, we know you did it.” – and he still won’t confess. Now his past sin sours our present relationship even more, as he continues to lie to us with our full knowledge. (Know someone like that?)

Actually, he’s really lying to himself. He’s convinced himself that pretending he hasn’t wronged us will be better for him (and his relationship with us) than confessing he has wronged us. Instead, he’s making things worse. And…

When it comes to hiding our sin from God, we lie to ourselves every time, because God knows… everything.

He may come out to the garden calling “Adam… where are you?” But he knows full well where you are (latitude, longitude & elevation) and what you’ve been up to (and for that matter, what you’re wearing… “Nice fig leaf!”). He’s just giving you a sacred opportunity to confess.

For another word picture, let me take you on a slight detour into the world of modern art. Then I’ll bring things back around to our previous analogy.

Nothing’s funnier than the “ridiculous” masquerading as the “sophisticated.” (Remember the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?”) Well, at the expense of offending the more sophisticated readers of this book, I’d like to suggest that the world of modern art commits this faux pas frequently.

I had the opportunity to visit an esteemed modern art museum in Amsterdam that supplied several excellent examples of what I’m describing. First there was the “work of art” comprised of six square panels riveted side-by-side in the shape of a rectangle and painted bright red. The name of the piece: “Red x Six.”

I swear those panels had been taken from the side of a ship. I wondered if the ship owner was still looking for them, and how he’d react if he found out that part of his starboard bow was now in a pretentious art museum.

Then there was the clean white panel with eight black plastic bolt heads arranged in a straight line. The name of this piece: 8 Black Bolts on White. (Duh, what did you think?) At least the “Red x Six” piece had an interesting name.

Now let’s go back to James’ aforementioned coloring on the wall. What if, instead of denying responsibility, James simply denied wrongdoing? What if, upon discovery of the scribbled lines on his bedroom wall, he proudly pronounced it a work of art?

Me: “James, did you color on the wall?”

James: “Yes Daddy! Isn’t it beautiful? I call it “Scribbling on the Wall.”

Well, James could call it whatever he wanted, but I’m going to call it “Disobedience.”

James might counter, “It addresses the angst of childhood, the confusion of growing up and the insatiable desire for immortality,” but despite my astonishment upon hearing my five-year-old touch on topics of such profundity, I’m going to interpret this “work” as “communicating disregard for established rules of our home.”

Same goes for unforgiveness. I may want to call it “my right.” I may want to explain what it means for me to hold on to my bitterness. But God calls it “sin” and it communicates the desire to live in defiance of his will for my life.

[The post above is an excerpt from Forgiveness 101, a FREE PDF book that’s yours just for the asking! Simply email us here: and we’ll send you a digital copy pronto. Want to read the intro first? Click here! Want to hear the story of a life God changed through the Biblical truths shared in this book? Click here! Freedom might be just a click away! (Plus 70 pages, but that’s not a very long book now, is it?)]

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!