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Happy New Year
Photo: Matteo Canessa
A new year. A fresh start. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Especially if you’d just as soon forget about the mistakes you made this past year.

I’ve seen guilt on the faces of teens many times: He stole something from a store; she went too far on a date. He lied to his girlfriend; she cheated on a test. He tried drugs and drinking; she spread gossip.

When you look back on this year, are you carrying some guilt? If so, the good news is this: you don’t have to carry it any longer! Today can be the last day you feel that heavy load. Jesus promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins...” (I John 1:9). That’s quite a promise. If Jesus promises to forgive, He will forgive, no matter what the sin. The very reason Jesus died on the cross was so you could be forgiven upon the asking.

If you think that’s great, listen to this: not only will He forgive your sins, He promises to forget them. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions…And I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). He doesn’t hammer you with the offense over and over again—He chooses to forget it.

And if that weren’t enough, He does even more. He’ll give you a new heart. A heart that longs to be close to Him so you can make the right choices. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

A New Heart

Can you believe it? God forgives, He forgets and He gives a new heart.

Now the next two steps are yours. First, if your sin hurt or involved other people, go to them. Tell them you’ve asked God’s forgiveness and now you’re asking theirs. Make right whatever you can. Second, stay close to the Forgiver. If you don’t, the guilt will try to come back by reminding you how you blew it, what a bad person you are or what a disappointment you’ve been to others. But He will remind you you’re forgiven.

Accepting God’s forgiveness doesn’t take away the fact that you did something wrong that hurt you or others. You’ll always regret making that mistake. But you don’t have to feel the heavy load of guilt because it was taken care of at the cross. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned...” (John 3:17).

This New Year’s Eve, along with the party, watching the ball drop or whatever you do, take some time for God. Look over the past year with Him. Talk to Him about the things you wish you hadn’t done. Ask His forgiveness. Then when the clock strikes 12:00, you can make a fresh start—together.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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