Modeling Forgiveness

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Proverbs 28:13 NIV


I’ve had an inexplicable lifelong love for paper. In fourth grade when I visited the class box of construction paper, it drew me in. Among the random pieces in the box were a series of strips. My teacher, Miss De Bour, had taken the paper cutter to one end of a package of assorted paper. I wanted them so I took them. I tucked them under my sweater and returned to my desk.

Miss De Bour stood near my desk as the bell rang for recess and placed her hand on my shoulder, pinning me to my seat—the silent signal to remain behind. My heart beat fast as I hoped that this was not about the paper strips. I knew stealing was wrong.

Miss De Bour gently asked what I had underneath my sweater. For a moment, I thought about claiming that my shirt was bunched up. But my conscience prompted me to come clean, and I did.

She didn’t ask why; she didn’t lecture. She smiled with forgiveness and said, “Put the paper back in the box and run out to recess.” Furthermore, she never notified my parents, and my report card did not reflect poor conduct (yes, that used to be measured and reported). She forgave me completely and wiped my slate clean.


As I sit here years later, I know that Miss De Bour modeled God’s grace to me that day. Our conscience, or if we are a Christ-follower, the Holy Spirit, nudges. When we confess, we find mercy—normally without drama.

God simply forgives and sends us on. Oh, sometimes there are consequences, but God does not lecture us, mark us as a “bad girl” or shout our transgressions to the world. He forgives. He covers our sin with His son’s blood and gives us a fresh slate each time we sin.

This appeared first in the Facebook group Balanced and Beautiful in Christ where I am a regular contributor. Thanks to Jessie Courson for the lovely artwork and to Nicole Williams for her editorial assistance.

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Always Thankful for This Victory!

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57 (NLT)

I live in a house that’s over 20 years old. It had the original dishwasher until last week. When I washed the first load in the new one, I was amazed at how much cleaner things appeared to be. Not that we were eating off dried on food, but I had a few brighter cleaner storage containers, the stain was gone. And just in time as I had 12 around my table last Thursday enjoying a feast.

That’s how it is with us. We can think we are living a pretty good life, but there’s sin there. Except…Christ died..for me, for you, for all of us!

It’s life-changing, and it’s not that complicated. Christ died so that we can be cleansed of sin. He wiped away the past, and he gave us his Holy Spirit to help us avoid sin in the present. Of course, we don’t always avoid it. We live in a pretty dark world. We are lured in. Sometimes, we are just selfish and want our own way. We are spotless when we belong to Christ because Christ has already declared victory. It’s a done deal.

It took me a while to get this last part through my head. Of course, I should be sad when I sin, but I’m still forgiven. I don’t have to rely on my ability to live my life sinless even with the help of the Spirit. I have been set free. It’s not about my ability or my obedience; it’s about the gift of life offered by my savior.

How could I not be thankful for this gift?

Let’s Think This Through

How do you lean into the Holy Spirit when temptation threatens you to sin?

Do you beat yourself up when you sin or do you rest in the victory Christ has won over sin?

Here’s a challenge….take 10 minutes each day. Focus only on the amazing attributes of God and the gift of salvation. Tell God what you are thinking. He’d love to hear this from you.

Father, of all the things I’m thankful for, salvation is my number one! It is beyond amazing that you asked your Son to die for me. It’s almost unbelievable that he did. If I didn’t know how much you love me, I could never believe it.

I thank you for your Spirit that lives in me and helps me choose the right way over sin. I’m sorry that too often I depend on me rather than your Spirit. Thank you for forgiving me anyway.

It’s always so easy to be thankful in November when we are surrounded by reminders, but help us make thankfulness a daily habit.


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