Sharon Mahedy ~ Phoenix, Arizona

I attended Catholic School in first grade. I remember the nuns making us memorize a little prayer. I am grateful for the eternal truths the prayer contained. Through that prayer, I learned I was a sinner and that my sins had offended God. I learned that something needed to be done about my sins or I would never be in heaven. I was taught to say my little prayer to God each night. In return, God would wipe my slate clean, making things right between my soul and God. As I said my nightly bedtime prayer, my young mind pictured God wiping away each day’s sins with His divine eraser. Every night I rested peacefully thinking “My sins are gone!” But were they?

I was 11 years old when a friend invited me to attend Children’s Bible Meetings. Anxious to learn more about God, I attended regularly. I felt certain God was quite pleased with me and that my increased church attendance would gain me extra points in heaven.

            Then one night the speaker read Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” He explained that our righteousnesses were the things that we offer to God in order to please Him so that He will forgive our sins. One by one he began pulling dirty rags from a box. One was labeled “church attendance”, another “baptism”, and another “prayer”. He explained that none of these things had any power to make us right with God or to remove our sin. The filthy rags that we offer to God can never make us clean in His sight.

That verse from God’s Word disturbed me greatly. I had a choice to make. I could believe what God said in His Word or continue to cling to my nightly prayers and my religion. The choice was obvious, but costly. I had to believe God and cast aside the religion my family had embraced for generations. According to the Bible, I knew my sins had never been forgiven. My slate had never been wiped clean. I felt the burden and guilt of every sin of my life as I never had before.

            What would satisfy God? What could I do to have my sins erased and forgiven? I began to search for the answer. As I continued attending meetings and hearing more of God’s Word, I learned that when Christ died on the cross, He suffered the punishment of God for the sins of the world. I believed this, yet I was not saved. I still did not understand how I could be sure that my sins were forgiven.

One night after Gospel meeting, a friend shared how she had been saved. She explained that she had been trying to do something to be forgiven when she simply realized that Christ had done all the work. I understood. I saw for the first time that it was not about what I had to do; it was what Christ had already done. Christ had done it all when He died on the Cross! Did I believe that? I believed it because that is what God’s Word says. I was no longer resting in my efforts to please God, but on the fact that Christ had already suffered for my sins. My heavenly slate was finally wiped clean of every sin! Is yours?