CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 23, 2023 – One of the devil’s classic tricks is to remind you about sins already forgiven by God. That’s the first part of the devil’s trick – reminding you of the sins. The second part is to get you to feel guilty about them all over again.

This two-part trick is a devil’s classic because it works (nearly) every time. How often do we hear people bemoaning what they did before they were Christians, relaying their deeds in gory detail and wondering how they can ever forgive themselves?

But when you say “how can I ever forgive myself” about a sin that God’s already forgiven, it’s like a slap in God’s face. It also shows profound spiritual ignorance. As born-again believers, we should not be spiritually ignorant, and if we are, we should work to overcome our ignorance through knowledge.

Did you know that when you resurrect your repented sins, you relive them in part? When you relive them, you partially reopen old wounds that otherwise would have remained closed and healed. You pick at the spiritual scab, as it were. And we all know what happens when you pick at a scab that’s covering open flesh: an infection can set in that’s worse than the original wound.

But even more concerning is that in resurrecting forgiven sins, you question God’s grace of forgiveness. When you’re reborn, you’re wiped clean. Every sin you’ve committed up to that point is forgiven, and when God forgives you, you are well and truly forgiven. You no longer are under conviction for any pre-rebirth sins. It doesn’t matter if people still throw those sins in your face; if God has forgiven you, you’re forgiven.

As for the sins you’ve committed since rebirth, if you’ve repented them, you’re forgiven them, and they assume the same status as your pre-rebirth sins, which means they’re expunged from your record.

I still occasionally get confronted by people who’ve rejected God. They dredge up old sins God’s long forgiven me and demand I pay some kind of emotional price for them. Since I no longer owe anything on those sins, I simply tell the people that I’m sorry they’re hurting, which I genuinely am. But I don’t apologize for what God’s already forgiven me, even if my lack of an apology makes the people angry.

If you know the devil’s tricks, you shouldn’t fall for them. God allows the devil to tempt and test us – whether in our own minds or through unbelievers – because he needs us to strengthen our faith and deepen our spiritual knowledge. Until we get Home, God will permit us to be tempted and tested by the devil. That’s just part of being human.

Is there something you’ve done that still haunts you on occasion? If you know God’s forgiven you (and you’ll know; he doesn’t keep those things a secret from you), then you need to forgive yourself. If the devil tries to play his classic trick of reminding you of those sins, just simply say to yourself “God’s forgiven me”, and that’s it. No mulling over the details, no “how can I ever forgive myself”. Just simply, “God’s forgiven me” and move on.

If an unbeliever throws a forgiven sin in your face, don’t apologize for it again (you have no reason to apologize); just tell them you’re sorry they’re hurting. If your lack of an apology for the sin angers them, let them be angry. Their anger is not your fault. Be sorry that they’re in pain (which comes from their unrepented sin), but don’t be sorry for sins you’ve repented and been forgiven. Never be sorry for those, because they don’t exist anymore, not in God’s eyes.

If God’s forgiven you, you are well and truly forgiven and you need to forgive yourself, no matter what the devil or unbelievers may do to convince you otherwise.