How many of us have regrets?
How many people have we forgiven for doing things that we cannot forgive ourselves for? Isn’t it ironic that when we hear of someone else’s wrong, we can look at the full picture and know in our hearts that whatever was done by that person was not their nature and that it was just a mistake? So we can instantly forgive them and forget about what they have done. But when we do the exact same thing, we can’t let go of our guilt over the sin.
How many times do we condemn ourselves for something that we have done by calling ourselves names or just reliving the fateful moment of mistake over and over again?
All we have to do to be forgiven by God is to confess to Him what we have done, ask Him to forgive us and then turn away from the sin.
One of the things that I have seen is that forgiving myself is one of the hardest things for me to do.
If God has forgiven us and asks us to forgive those who have sinned against us that means that He wants us to forgive ourselves. He wants us to be free of the guilt and shame that comes with not forgiving our self.
He will help us by walking through the process with us. All we have to do is just ask Him.
When we forgive ourselves we will experience the freedom and guilt free living that He wants us to experience.
Papa Joe has a family member who abandoned her children when they were very young. This woman is in her 70’s now and does not know God, is very bitter, very condemning of herself and paranoid because she thinks everyone is just as harshly judgmental of her as she is. She exhibits more and more signs every time he talks to her of mental illness. There is no one in this world whom she trusts. Even though more than one of her adult children has tried to reach out to her, she rejects their love because she says that she does not deserve it. When presented with the simple plan of “Being Forgiven by God for her own salvation” she also rejects it because she says that what she did is so bad that she cannot bring herself to the point of asking to be forgiven. She doesn’t think she deserves it. This woman is too blinded by her own self condemnation to understand the sentence that she has placed upon herself.
We must forgive ourselves.
We still will have to suffer the consequences of our actions no matter how major or minor they are. Maybe the loss of a friendship or a division between us and the person we have wronged. Maybe physical consequences for our past behaviors. Maybe consequences for bad financial decisions. The consequences will not disappear.
But there will be a new freedom and cleanness in our souls. We will be able to open our eyes every morning and see God and hear the songs that He has been singing over us all night long. We will be able to look out the window and see color and light with a new clarity of vision. We will be able to look into the faces of our loved ones and see who they are for maybe the first time ever. It will no longer matter to us what others think of us. We will possess what God thinks of us.
You think I am kidding or maybe living in a dream world? Try it!
I have been thinking about this post for a few days and about a particular verse, thinking that I needed to find it. I know many verses in the Bible but it is easy for me to forget their locations (one of my downfalls). I was sitting in a hospital room yesterday reading the Bible to a 95 yr. old woman who was lying in the bed. I asked her what she wanted me to read and she said, “Oh, maybe the Psalms.” So I started reading to her Psalm 23 which I knew was her favorite and then Psalm 91 and then I felt the prompting to go to Psalm 103 and there it was:
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
There it was! There it was! There was the verse that I had been thinking about for so many days. As I was reading it I felt the Spirit of the Living God all around me and I almost came to tears and then, shyly, looked up at the lovely lady whom I was reading to and she just smiled at me and said, “Isn’t He good? God is so good.” I looked back at her, smiled and said simply, “Yes, He is.” Bathed in the Holy Spirit, what else could be said? He has removed our transgressions from us and they are as far away from us as the east is from the west. That is an eternal amount of distance.
I am doing a study of the Book of Romans right now, just taking my time. What is really jumping out at me from this book is that God is all about grace. He is grace. He wants to forgive. He wants us to be forgiven and He wants us to know that we are forgiven. He wants us to know that although we do not deserve it and there is no penance that can be paid by us, He wants to give it to us because Jesus Christ paid that penance.
Ann Voskamp says time and time again in her writings, “All is grace”. And it truly is.
Grace from God.
Grace towards others.
Grace towards ourselves.
Unforgiveness in your heart towards yourself for giving that oldest child up for adoption will cause you to spoil and idolize the children that come afterwards.
Unforgiveness in your heart towards yourself for slapping your child in a frustrating moment and causing him to have a nosebleed will cause you to not think clearly when that same child becomes addicted to drugs and you start enabling him.
The list will go on and on………
Love to you and blessings!