I came into work one Saturday morning, admittedly a little grumpy that I had to be there, but I was ready for whatever the day had in store for me. Or so I thought. As I was preparing for my daily duties, a young lady, who was a coworker of mine, came in, punched the clock, and took her seat. Something was different about her, however. A visible heaviness was evident in her face, and her body language didn’t hide it either. I approached her and quietly asked what was wrong. She said “remember when I told you I was pregnant?” I nodded yes. She then stated, “Well not anymore. I went to the clinic and had an abortion. I just couldn’t…” She paused, and overcome with emotion, she gave up the struggle to restrain her tears. Barely able to talk, she forced these words from her mouth: “I prayed and cried all night. Evan, I just hope that someday He’ll forgive me”. She could not continue speaking, so instead she cried tears of intense agony. The pain I saw was nearly incomprehensible. When I think of that day, which happened several years ago, I still feel the after currents of that emotional trauma. My coworker was in the depths of despair because of a heart-wrenching decision she made when she felt like her back was against the wall. She was scared, confused, and broken, while coming face to face with the aftermath of her decision. The words she said played over and over in my head: “I just hope someday He’ll forgive me”. I was reminded of John 6:37 where Jesus said “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me, I will certainly not cast out. He didn’t say, “I will not cast you out, unless you do _________.” When Jesus said this, He gave us insight into the power of forgiveness. My co-worker’s situation was no exception; if she went to Jesus for forgiveness, He gave His Word that she would be accepted. Her words made me realize that it would be a major struggle for her to accept His forgiveness. Her biggest challenge, however, was to forgive herself. Forgiving one’s self can be a MAJOR challenge, if you choose to allow it to be. Face it, we all mess up. Big time. So you could pose the question: How can I forgive myself if you have a pattern of bad decisions that have delayed, or prevented me from having a good life? What if I knowingly did the wrong thing for a moment of satisfaction, and am now facing a lifetime of regret? Or worst of all, what if my actions not only hurt me, but they hurt others as well? If any of these things are present on my life’s resume, how can I EVER forgive myself? YOU CAN’T. Not in your own ability, that is. All you can hope for in your own strength is temporary relief of the “sin symptoms” (grief, pain, guilt, emotional trauma, etc.). You can ignore the issue by distracting yourself, but that’s like looking away from a mirror. Just because you’re not looking at it doesn’t mean the reflection is gone. So what is the solution? The Grace of God. God’s grace performs a complete work in those who will receive it by faith. Ephesians 1:7 says “Through Him we have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” The answer comes through the Grace. But you have to approach the circuit breaker of your life, and flip off the switches labeled, “I can figure this out on my own”, “I don’t deserve that kind of mercy”, and “I can just deal with it”. Then you must flip on the switch labeled, “God I need You. I surrender. I need Your Grace and Mercy (Hebrews 4:16)”. Then you cannot turn back! If you do this, you can complete the Forgiveness Challenge.