One day I was looking at the stats on my blog, trying to figure out how many people read it in any given week, or month. Interestingly, when you look at the stats you also find out what people were searching for when they found your blog. In other words, I found out exactly what people typed into google that led them to my blog. Now, this was a while back, but one particular search has stuck with me.
Once someone found my blog by typing in “Will God forgive me?” It made me wonder how many other people have typed that into google. There’s something strangely obvious about using a search engine when you’re really searching.
Rather than belabor the point, I can say with confidence that the answer is yes. God will forgive you. God wants to forgive you. In fact, God invites everyone to forgiveness – the kind of forgiveness that leads to reconciliation and a relationship with your Creator. In a way, that’s why Jesus came, to bring God’s invitation to the world. But like any invitation, a response – an R.S.V.P. – is required.
There’s a parable that Jesus tells in the gospels. It’s about a king who threw a wedding reception for his son. The king invited all the usual guests – but they made excuses and sent their regrets. The invitations went out, but the people who were invited responded with a No. So the king invited everyone else he could find, and the wedding reception went on anyway. What made the difference between being at the party, and not being at the party? It wasn’t the invitation, it was the R.S.V.P. Everyone was invited, some chose not to go.
It’s like that with God. Everyone is invited – and the invitation is out there. But each person has to respond to that invitation. I’m not saying that your response has to look like mine. Every person is created unique, so every person’s response to God’s invitation is unique. But some kind of response, some kind of participation in what God is doing in the world, is a necessary part of anyone’s relationship with God. I would say that everyone’s response should include joining a faith community, because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and we all need a place where people who are farther along on the journey with God can teach us.
The point is, God wants to forgive you, and no sin is too great to make God give up on you. In the gospels, the so-called unforgivable sin is rejecting God’s invitation in Jesus Christ. But even when we reject God, God keeps sending the invitations. As I wrote in the song, I Will Be With You, “Life is a long chain of second chances.” Therefore, the only truly unforgivable sin, is to refuse God’s offer of forgiveness.
If you want to hear the song, I Will Be With You, check out this video: