A few months before his death, Mikhail Kalashnikov wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Kalashnikov wanted to know if he was responsible for all of the deaths caused by his greatest invention, the AK-47 assault rifle.

In the letter, Kalashnikov said, "The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people's lives, it means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, ...am responsible for people's deaths."

Kalashnikov's situation was unique, but his feelings were all too common. Many of us know that pain: remorse over something we've done in the past. We blame ourselves for something we did or didn't do. We see the consequences of our words and our actions, and we wonder if there could ever be forgiveness for someone like us.

I'll state a few things quite frankly:

  • You are a sinner. You have done things in the past that were wrong. Things that hurt others. Things that hurt you. Things that hurt your relationship with God. I can say that quite confidently, for we are all sinners (Romans 3:23).
  • God wants to forgive you. He wants to wipe your sin away, remove it "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12).
  • God sent his son to die for your sin. And my sin. And the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
  • Through Jesus Christ, you can receive forgiveness for any and every sin that you have committed (1 John 1:9).

In the New Testament, we read of a man named Paul. He was a devout Jew who thought that Christianity was a false religion. Because of that, he persecuted Christians, seeing to it that they were imprisoned and put to death. Then he had a vision of the risen Jesus and learned that he was mistaken.

A man like that would have every right to believe that his sins could never be forgiven. Yet God sent a Christian teacher named Ananias to tell Paul how to receive forgiveness and begin a new life. After telling Paul about Jesus, Ananias said:

"And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16).

It doesn't matter what you have done. Your sins can be washed away. You can start over. God will cleanse you and give you a new life.

Don't suffer as Kalashnikov did. Let God wipe away your past.

If you'd like to talk more about how to start over with God, write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org. Or join the discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.

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