Charles was 18 years old when he was arrested for aggravated assault. When we met, he was nervous and fearful about his future. After serving 10 years in prison for hitting a co-worker, he was right to be concerned. Despite serving time for the felony, the world wasn’t so quick to forgive or forget his past offense.
Ex-offenders, like Charles, face tremendous challenges. Their credibility is always in question, emotional support is minimal, and the world seems like a foreign place to them.
It is not easy to start over once you’ve “sinned.” The word sin means “offend or trespass” or “to miss.” When a person commits a crime, they miss it or mess up. By definition, a sin can be anything from taking someone’s life to stealing a cookie.
“I may have ‘paid’ for my crime, but I still feel like a criminal,” Charles admitted. Shame, embarrassment and regret were his constant companions.
So, what do you do when you’ve messed up? Where do you find solace when the world won’t forget? How do you leave the past behind to move on?
Sincere forgiveness and a changed heart will always move Father God to issue you a pardon. Thankfully, unlike the world, God doesn’t hold past offenses against you. He forgives and forgets. 2 Corinthians 5:19 gives us further insight.
“It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).”
If you’ve messed up—as we all have—there is forgiveness for you, a chance to be restored—to return or recover—through the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ.
God’s restoration provides great benefits: an opportunity to recover what you’ve lost, to repair your credibility, and to enjoy God’s peace and support as you embrace his forgiveness. You no longer have to feel like a criminal because He’s give you a chance to start again. You can live again.
The world may not be quick to forgive your lie, stealing, gossip or curse hurled at another, but the Creator of all heaven and earth is on your side. He is ready to forgive, forget and restore youas you earnestly change. New opportunities, peace, strength and honor are waiting just for you.
Today, Charles is a community leader dedicated to helping former offenders find God’s restoration. When you are restored, who and what will you become?
Let us pray for your restoration today!
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 Comes from the Hebrew word hātā in the Strong’s Talking Greek and Hebrew Dictionary.
 "Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
 Comes from the Hebrew word shûb in the Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.