I was going to do this as a Facebook post, but I had a feeling I might get long-winded, so to speak, and thought it might be best to do as a blog post and then just share to FB.
What I wanted to talk about has been on my heart for a few days, and it is something that I think might be needed by someone in my network of friends and family. Maybe you have felt that because of your past, you’ll never be good enough for God, or that what you’ve done is too much to be forgiven for. I know that at times most of us have felt that way. We let Satan whisper to us that God could never love us or really forgive us for the things we’ve done, or we keep praying for forgiveness for the same things over and over because we don’t really believe that God has let it go, or that we’ve really been forgiven.
So I wanted to tell you about a man that I came across in my Bible reading recently. This man was pretty terrible, and I mean like he was rotten to the core. His name was Manasseh, and he lived a few thousand years ago. Manasseh was a king to the ancient Jews. He did not follow God’s laws, far from it. He built altars to false gods. He offered his own sons as sacrifices. He promoted spiritistic practices throughout the land. Rumor has it that he had the prophet Isaiah cut in half and murdered. So yeah, he was a pretty rotten fella. You can read about him in 2 Chronicles 33:1-20.
So, because he was so bad, Jehovah God allowed him to be taken captive by Assyria, and he was taken to Babylon in chains and fetters. Well, when this happened, he apparently started to rethink his life and the things he’d done. I like the way it’s put in verse 12 of that chapter I mentioned… “As soon as it caused him distress, he softened the face of Jehovah his God and kept humbling himself greatly…” Now, most of us would think, “Yeah, I’m sure he felt bad then…” I mean, who wouldn’t want to repent and call on God for help in a situation like that, right? Most of us wouldn’t believe his sincerity in asking for forgiveness, or even that he deserved it. I mean, he murdered his own sons in sacrifices to false gods, and he murdered the prophet Isaiah.
But, and here’s what I’m getting at, God saw his heart. When Manasseh started praying and humbling himself and asking God to help him, it must have been a true, heartfelt repentance. Because God did forgive him, and even restored him to the rulership of Judah. So what did Manasseh do then? Did he go back to his old ways? Nope. He turned around completely. He had humbled himself before God. He was truly sorry for his old ways and the things he had done. He prayed to Jehovah, and offered sacrifices. He removed all the altars to false gods. He urged the entire nation to turn back to God and serve him again.
Now, I’m betting that none of us have gone to the depths that Manasseh did in his sin, so why do we think we are past forgiveness? God really does love his children and wishes all of us to make it into paradise. He’s not just sitting around and waiting for you to make a mistake so he can put a mark in a book to keep track of sins. That’s not how he does things. On the contrary, God says that when he forgives you of something, he throws it away. It’s not there any more. It’s like throwing a rock into the deepest part of the ocean.
Here is an excerpt from a magazine, and I’ll post the link to it below.
“Consider another Scriptural account that illustrates the extent of Jehovah’s willingness to forgive. Some 360 years after David began to rule, Manasseh became king of Judah. His 55-year-long reign was infamous for wickedness, and his detestable practices brought condemnation from Jehovah. Among other things, Manasseh set up altars to Baal, worshipped “all the army of the heavens,” made his sons pass through fire, and promoted spiritistic practices. Yes, “he did on a grand scale what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.”—2 Chron. 33:1-6.
12 Eventually, Manasseh was taken from his homeland and thrown into a Babylonian prison. There he may have recalled these words of Moses to Israel: “When you are in sore straits and all these words have found you out at the close of the days, then you will have to return to Jehovah your God and to listen to his voice.” (Deut. 4:30) Manasseh did return to Jehovah. How? He “kept humbling himself greatly” and “kept praying” to God (as depicted on page 21). (2 Chron. 33:12, 13) We have no record of the exact words Manasseh uttered in those prayers, but we can imagine that they may in some ways have paralleled those of King David, as recorded in Psalm 51. In any case, Manasseh underwent a complete change of heart.
13 What was Jehovah’s response to Manasseh’s prayers? “He let himself be entreated by [Manasseh] and He heard his request for favor.” Like David before him, Manasseh recognized the seriousness of his sins and was truly repentant. That is why God forgave Manasseh and restored him to the kingship in Jerusalem. As a result, “Manasseh came to know that Jehovah is the true God.” (2 Chron. 33:13) How heartening it is to have this further evidence that our merciful God forgives those who are genuinely repentant!”
Here’s the link to the article: The Watchtower, Nov 2012
Trust me, God is ready to forgive. He is willing to forgive. He wants to forgive you. But you play a part too. You have to be genuine, and sincere, and do your best to leave that old person you were behind. Learn to trust that God loves you, and that he means what he says, and that he cannot lie.
Hebrews 6:18; James 4:10; 1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 4:8; Jeremiah 31:34
Here is a link to another great article on forgiveness: “Will God forgive me?”
Thank you for reading this, and I hope if you were feeling like a lost cause, that my little words have shown you that you aren’t. If you have any questions or something to add, I’d love to hear from you.