Recently someone asked me if God would forgive an adulterer. I answered: Absolutely! There isn’t any sin too big for God. All we have to do is ask. He loves us so His mercy exceeds His fury! Once we’ve been forgiven, our sins are washed away!
Wherefore, hearken ye unto My speech, and return ye to God and repent, that He, through His grace, may have mercy upon you, may wash away your sins, and forgive your trespasses. The greatness of His mercy surpasseth the fury of His wrath, and His grace encompasseth all who have been called into being and been clothed with the robe of life. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 130)
God forgives anyone who asks! For those who sincerely want to change, He’s already forgiven us because he knows our intent.
We have assured forgiveness of sins, as known in the presence of the Best Beloved and in conformity with what Thou desirest. Verily His knowledge embraceth all things. (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 54)
He’ll even forgive Covenant-Breakers!
It is important to note that should a Covenant-breaker recognize his mistakes, become conscious of his transgressions against the Cause of God and find the urge to repent, the Centre of the Cause, when satisfied he is sincerely repentant, will forgive his past deeds and restore his credibility and status as a Bahá’í in good standing in the community. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 240)
Not only does he forgive us, but he doesn’t want us to worry about our sins; but to be confident that we’ve been born anew from his forgiveness:
We have attired his temple with the robe of forgiveness and adorned his head with the crown of pardon. It beseemeth him to pride himself among all men upon this resplendent, this radiant and manifest bounty. Say: Be not despondent. After the revelation of this blessed verse it is as though thou hast been born anew from thy mother’s womb. Say: Thou art free from sin and error. Truly God hath purged thee with the living waters of His utterance in His Most Great Prison. (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 77)
For this gift, He wants us to teach His Faith as a way to strengthen us from further temptation in this area.
We entreat Him—blessed and exalted is He—to graciously confirm thee in extolling Him and in magnifying His glory and to strengthen thee through the power of His invisible hosts. (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 77)
Once I understood that God loved me and created me perfect, I realized I had to forgive the lies emanating from my lower nature about my being unworthy and unlovable. They weren’t God’s truth, therefore why would I make them mine?
With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof. (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)
Then I had to look at the veils that had come between me and God as a result of my lack of forgiveness (anger, pride, self-pity, mistrust); and ask God for His forgiveness. I knew that I was forgiven because I started to feel lighter and happier, and because of quotes like this, I found myself doing more good deeds than ever before.
The more I grew in my understanding of God’s forgiveness, the more I realized that of course God has forgiven all of us! He did so a LONG time ago!
God hath forgiven what is past. Henceforward everyone should utter that which is meet and seemly, and should refrain from slander, abuse and whatever causeth sadness in men. Lofty is the station of man! (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 219-220)
I took each individual act of abuse that had ever happened, for each person who had abused me. I looked at the lies I’d believed as an outcome of each single event. I forgave myself for each one; asked God for His forgiveness; and forgave each perpetrator. Immediately a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I’ve been free of anxiety (which is really fear) and depression (which is really self-pity) ever since.
Prayers for Forgiveness
God has given us prayers we can use when asking for His forgiveness:
Behold me, then, O my God, how I have fled from myself unto Thee, and have abandoned my own being that I may attain unto the splendors of the light of Thy Being, and have forsaken all that keepeth me back from Thee, and maketh me forgetful of Thee, in order that I may inhale the fragrances of Thy presence and Thy remembrance. Behold how I have stepped upon the dust of the city of Thy forgiveness and Thy bounty, and dwelt within the precincts of Thy transcendent mercy, and have besought Thee, through the sovereignty of Him Who is Thy Remembrance and Who hath appeared in the robe of Thy most pure and most august Beauty, to send down, in the course of this year, upon Thy loved ones what will enable them to dispense with any one except Thee, and will set them free to recognize the evidences of Thy sovereign will and all-conquering purpose, in such wise that they will seek only what Thou didst wish for them through Thy bidding, and will desire naught except what Thou didst desire for them through Thy will. Sanctify, then, their eyes, O my God, that they may behold the light of Thy Beauty, and purge their ears, that they may listen to the melodies of the Dove of Thy transcendent oneness. Flood, then, their hearts with the wonders of Thy love, and preserve their tongues from mentioning any one save Thee, and guard their faces from turning to aught else except Thyself. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. Thou, verily, art the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 335)
Cast, then, upon me, O my God, the glances of Thy mercy, and forgive me my trespasses and the trespasses of them that are dear to Thee, and which come in between us and the revelation of Thy triumph and Thy grace. Cancel Thou, moreover, our sins which have shut off our faces from the splendors of the Day-Star of Thy favors. Powerful art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou ordainest what Thou willest, and art not asked of what Thou wishest through the power of Thy sovereignty, nor canst Thou be frustrated in whatsoever Thou prescribest through Thine irrevocable decree. No God is there save Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the Ever-living, the Most Compassionate. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 337)
O God, my God! Have mercy then upon my helpless state, my poverty, my misery, my abasement! Give me to drink from the generous cup of Thy grace and forgiveness, stir me with the sweet scents of Thy love, gladden my bosom with the light of Thy knowledge, purify my soul with the mysteries of Thy oneness, raise me to life with the gentle breeze that cometh from the gardens of Thy mercy — till I sever myself from all else but Thee, and lay hold of the hem of Thy garment of grandeur, and consign to oblivion all that is not Thee, and be companioned by the sweet breathings that waft during these Thy days, and attain unto faithfulness at Thy Threshold of Holiness, and arise to serve Thy Cause, and to be humble before Thy loved ones, and, in the presence of Thy favoured ones, to be nothingness itself. Verily art Thou the Helper, the Sustainer, the Exalted, the Most Generous. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 4-5)
O Thou forgiving Lord! Thou art the shelter of all these Thy servants. Thou knowest the secrets and art aware of all things. We are all helpless, and Thou art the Mighty, the Omnipotent. We are all sinners, and Thou art the Forgiver of sins, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O Lord! Look not at our shortcomings. Deal with us according to Thy grace and bounty. Our shortcomings are many, but the ocean of Thy forgiveness is boundless. Our weakness is grievous, but the evidences of Thine aid and assistance are clear. Therefore, confirm and strengthen us. Enable us to do that which is worthy of Thy holy Threshold. Illumine our hearts, grant us discerning eyes and attentive ears. Resuscitate the dead and heal the sick. Bestow wealth upon the poor and give peace and security to the fearful. Accept us in Thy kingdom and illumine us with the light of guidance. Thou art the Powerful and the Omnipotent. Thou art the Generous. Thou art the Clement. Thou art the Kind. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 176)
O God! Sanctify me from all else save Thee, purge me from the dross of sins and transgressions and cause me to possess a spiritual heart and conscience. Verily thou art merciful and verily Thou art the Generous, the Helper. (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 51)
I beg of God to forgive thy sins and to illumine thy face with the light of forgiveness, so that thou mayest conquer the self which desires the earthly world and prevent it from its wishes and appetites. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 80)
And here’s an easy mantra we can memorize and repeat often:
Forgive me, O my Lord, my sins which have hindered me from walking in the ways of Thy good-pleasure, and from attaining the shores of the ocean of Thy oneness. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 29)
How has God shown his forgiveness to you? Post your comments below.