I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I was raised by parents who demonstrated their love for Christ beyond the church walls, and naturally, I followed the example that was laid before me. Many of my peers labled me, "church boy", and I accepted the label as a sign that God was being seen through me. I strived to be a sinless Christian; a child that God could be proud of.
I understood that righteousness was one of God's requirements, but I didn't understand the limits of my own righteousness. As a preteen, I became addicted to pornography. My addiction caused me to struggle with my identity; in my heart I was committed to God, but in my body, committed to sin. (Roman 7:25 KJV) I struggled nearly 15 years with addiction to pornography before realizing the limits of my righteousness and the power of God's forgiveness.
Addiction opened my eyes to the necessity of God's righteousness, and forgiveness. I was self-righteous; I lived life as if I only needed Jesus to cover my "micro sins". My personal scorecard hindered me from truly appreciating God's forgiveness. In a way, my addiction was a blessing, because it humbled me into realizing just how much I needed God's forgiveness.
God's forgiveness is a representation of love, because it demonstrates his ability to look beyond our faults to see the treasure that He's placed in us. I am often faced with the challenge to forgive others; in those moments I call myself to remember my own need for forgiveness, and God's choice to forgive me. God is the standard, and without exception we must forgive. If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:15 NKJV)
I pray that we all understand the necessity of God's forgiveness, and the limits of our own righteousness. "God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) As children of God we have been forgiven and made righteous. I pray that you are blessed by my story and that you will continue to receive and distribute God's forgiveness.