The Limits of Forgiveness

When I was pastoring, I heard people say, “I’ve sinned so much, could God really forgive me?” You may have asked this question too. Will God forgive the worst of the worst? Yes! No sin is too great for God’s forgiveness.

The Bible shows this is true. There are some awful characters throughout Scripture, but you will be hard-pressed to find anyone more evil than King Manasseh. In our text today, the first nine verses chronicle the wretchedness and carnage performed at the hands of this king. In these few verses we learn that he: (1) desecrated Solomon’s Temple with idols, (2) worshiped pagan gods, (3) murdered his own children as a sacrifice, and (4) led people astray. Clearly, this man was pure evil (vv. 2, 6, 9). Despite the Lord speaking to him, he continually turned a deaf ear (v. 10). He did more to encourage the idolatry that led to the Babylonian invasion and captivity than any other person. His capture by the Assyrians was both brutal and humiliating (v. 11).

Yet even though Manasseh was a horridly evil person, God loved him and gave him a second chance. In an astounding turnabout, Manasseh humbled himself and sought God. Through prayer he confessed his sin (v. 19) and acknowledged that Yahweh was God (v. 13). His genuine repentance was evident because when the Lord helped him return to Jerusalem, he changed his way of life and leadership. He made it clear to all that idolatry was an abomination and he would worship Yahweh as God (vv. 15–17). The short chronicle of Manasseh’s life was included in Scripture, so future generations would know how to recover from the sin that led to their captivity.

Manasseh’s life teaches us that forgiveness is not limited by the amount of sin in our past, but by our eagerness to repent and change our future. How far does God need to go to get your attention? Only humility and repentance stand between you and God’s forgiveness.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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