Many years ago I stole a fairly large sum of money from the company I was working for at the time. I feel very guilty and wish I could pay them back, but the company isn’t even in existence anymore. Will God ever forgive me? I worry about this all the time.
Dear Mrs. A.J.: What you did was wrong, of course, and when we do wrong we always pay a price — in your case, the price of a years-long burden of guilt. After committing a grievous sin against God, King David lamented, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear” (Psalm 38:4).
But listen: God doesn’t want you to carry this burden of guilt any longer. And you don’t need to, because he has done everything that is necessary to make your forgiveness possible by sending Jesus Christ into the world to become the final payment for your sins and mine. We are guilty before God — not just for the sins we can remember, but for all our sins. But when Jesus died on the cross, all our sins were transferred to him, and he paid the price for our forgiveness.
This is why the most important thing you can do is to turn to Christ and by faith trust him to forgive you. In other words, take your burden of guilt and give it to Jesus — completely and fully. His promise is true: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
As a footnote, although you can’t repay what you owe to your original employer, may I suggest you donate it (with interest) to an organization that ministers to those in need in your community, such as a homeless shelter or outreach to youth.