"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you
your sins.”

Mark 11:25

The night air was cold as I stumbled down the street at 2:30 a.m. I had been drinking all day. My life played in my mind like an old-reel horror film. Anger gave way to pain and hopelessness. All of the things that I had done – the drinking, the endless revolving door of men, the stealing, the lies, the family gatherings I missed, the thoughts of suicide -- rushed through my mind.

I had one prevailing thought, “I can’t live like this anymore.”

But the God of my childhood was waiting until my surrender came.

“God, if You’re there and You’ll still have me, I can’t live like this anymore.”

God’s response was immediate and complete. From that moment He was no longer the God of my childhood, He was my God. So much happened in the first year of my being sober -- He surrounded me with Godly men and women and granted me the gift of sobriety.

In that journey God led me to walk through the book “Steps To Freedom In Christ” by Dr. Neil Anderson. Openly confessing and repenting my sins was a very freeing experience. Knowing who I was in Christ gave me the confidence to face my sin without hesitation because my identity was secure in Him.

Each step dealt with a specific area of sin in my life. The most powerful was the forgiveness step. The truth of God’s word poured over me as I made a conscious decision to forgive all that had been done to me. I was no longer angry or bitter at those who had hurt or offended me.

I also made the decision to forgive myself for all of the nasty things I had done when I was drinking. Forgiving myself was accepting the truth that God had already forgiven me when I asked.

This April 28 I will celebrate 14 years of sobriety and walking with Jesus. I love that this celebration is during the month when we celebrate what Jesus did for us on the cross. The power of the sacrifice of Jesus’ death and Resurrection is comparable to nothing. God is the only one who can offer me complete absolution for my sin.

Our Sunday school class has been doing the “Living Beyond Yourself” Bible study with Beth Moore. I was reminded again how wonderfully and completely Jesus forgave me. In addition, I was reminded that I am to forgive others as well. It is always easier to forgive others when I remember just how much God forgave me. I will let God be the judge since He is the only one who can be just and merciful. He is the only one who knows the whole picture of people’s lives. I do not.

“Lord, I ask for Your mercy and patience when interacting with people. Enable me through the power of Your Spirit to be quick to forgive and grant grace and mercy as You have shown me. I can’t do this without Your help. In Jesus’ merciful name, amen.”