It is important to know that forgiveness does not involve excusing the wrong that another has done to us, but simply leaving judgment to the one and only Judge.
In a way we are all that woman caught in the act of adultery. None of us is perfect (see Romans 3:23) and no matter how “big” or “small” our sins are, we all have some reason to feel ashamed when we approach Jesus.
When we choose to obey God in seemingly insignificant things like the command to forgive others (see Matt. 18:21-22, Lk. 6:37, Lk. 17:3-4), we end up playing a part in his greater plan of reconciliation with the world. A decision that seems small at the moment may end up having an impact for generations to come.
We were all once the “Prodigal Son,” but if we are not careful we can easily become the older brother. It is in that dangerous place of thinking that we can earn God’s love that we are capable of condemning our brothers and sisters whom Jesus died to save.
The mistakes of your past do not affect the love that God has for you and they can’t cancel the purpose that He has for your life. Remember that when your past tries to convince you that you are unqualified to fulfill the calling that God has for you today.
When we approach God to pray, the first thing that often comes to mind is our mistakes. Perhaps there have been times when you didn’t even dare to pray because of the guilt and shame that you felt. The only antidote is the Gospel.
How would your relationship with God change if you actually believed that he didn’t remember your sins? You would probably pray with more confidence and stop beating yourself up for your past mistakes. In other words, you would be freer and closer to God than ever before.