Forgiving Myself

The instructions of theLord are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lordare trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lordare right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of theLord are clear, giving insight for living.
Reverence for theLord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of theLord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:7-14 (NLT)

Have you ever done something that you wished you hadn’t? Are you carrying the knowledge of that mistake, sin, screw-up, failure around with you? Have you carried it so long that you don’t even realize the weight any more?

I’m not a fan of the game of golf, but for the non-professional there is this really great thing called a “mulligan.” It’s a do-over. There have been times when I wished I had a mulligan that could have given me an option to do-over something that I said or did.

What does God say about forgiving me? Forgiving myself?

Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing!” – Luke 23:24 (my paraphrase)

Jesus is being nailed to a cross and He asks the Father to forgive everyone who is nailing Him there. My sins nailed Him there. I am forgiven because Jesus did what was necessary to make that happen. But here’s another point: Jesus says that I do not even realize what I am doing! I do not get that my sin has put Him where He is. Maybe there was a time when I did not even understand that I had sinned. But because He loves me, God provides His Spirit which reveals my sin to me. I am convicted of my sin. Jesus is the Light of the world and sweeps away the darkness that tries to cover my sin. Jesus wants me to see my sin and know that He has covered it, washed it away, and I am forgiven!

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

Jesus is really clear here. I am to forgive others. There are no exceptions. Peter, on another occasion, tries to get Jesus to put a ceiling cap on the amount of times he would have to forgive his brother (Matthew 18:21-22). Jesus answers in such a way that could mean 490 times!

But then I remember that Jesus also said that I am to love myself as I love others. If I love someone like Jesus said, then I will forgive them. Love myself? Forgive myself.

Why wouldn’t I forgive myself for – whatever? Because I’m listening to a voice inside me that says what I have done is worse than anything that anyone else has done. I am too bad to be forgiven.

Maybe someone can’t forgive me for what I’ve done. Allow God’s Spirit, that One who is Truth, to look inside and determine the truth of your heart. Have you repented? Have you turned away from your sin and made the commitment to walk in a new direction? Have you asked forgiveness, apologized without conditions? If they won’t forgive, then let it go and let God handle their heart. But open your heart and allow God’s Spirit to wash through your own heart and remove all the guilt and unforgiveness. Allow God to put His seal on the situation. Do not attempt to return to the situation and pick up the past and guilt again.

Forgiving myself is a vital part of healing. It is difficult to be a disciple, a carrier of Christ’s Light into the world, when I am limping along, dragging a bag of guilt wherever I go. It’s time to let go of guilt. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, covers sin, covers the guilt and shame of sin, and washes it completely away! Let Him do it! And He doesn’t need my help to improve on His perfection!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdomthrough psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)

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