Recently, during my morning devotions, I read the following as words from God in my copy of the book, “Jesus Calling.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret.
“This is a waste of time and energy leading only to frustration, instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me In trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.”
Reading this prayer brought to mind a question. How do I forgive myself after I have made a mis-take or sinned against someone, either intentionally or unintentionally, and then be able to move forward?
Truth is, we can’t move forward in relationships with others until we ask them to forgive us and we forgive ourselves. Both steps must be completed. Then and only then can we progress.
In this, we can do only our part. What is our responsibility or our part?
Our part is to humbly confess what we said or did was wrong, again, intentionally or not, and then ask to be forgiven for it.
The longer we carry it, the heavier it becomes.
Remember, confession is not an apology. Whether our request for forgiveness and even us as people, for that matter, is accepted or rejected, it is not up to us. This is the other’s part. We have to trust God and leave the results of our obedience in His hands no matter the response.
The next step we must take is to forgive ourselves. We can never punish ourselves enough to earn forgiveness. Oftentimes, it is easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves.
We want to be punished because we think we don’t deserve mercy and grace.
Again, truth is, we don’t deserve mercy and grace from anyone. We deserve to have to carry the weight of our sin.
Another reason we don’t want to forgive ourselves is so it will serve as a reminder to not do what we did, again. This causes me to picture a cartoon of myself being forced to sit on a chair of sharp pointy nails every time I remember what I did.
This is not an encouraging picture. In fact, it’s quite discouraging.
One great negative impact of not forgiving ourselves is that it keeps us weighted down and holds us back. It prevents us from experiencing the freedom necessary to move forward. Of course, this is what Satan wants for us. He wants us to be bound by unforgiveness as Christ followers.
What do we do to move forward after asking others to forgive us and after we’ve forgiven ourselves? The best place to look for the answer to this question is found in God’s Word, the Bible. Matthew 5:24 says “… then come back and offer your gift.” Then, in other words, we can move forward.
It’s humbling for me to have to admit to myself and confess to you that this article was easy to write because I have had personal experience in the subject matter. I kinda have a feeling you have, too.
I must ask you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who is it you need to ask forgiveness from and forgive yourself for so you can be free to move forward?
Please, for Christ’s sake, don’t let Satan win. Don’t let him have an opportunity for victory here. This is exactly what he wants. He likes nothing better than unforgiveness within the family of God, for he knows the strife it causes.
Columbus’ Nita Evans is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or specialspeaker.com.