|"That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.|
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.:
Knowing that Jesus has forgiven me is the greatest gift I have ever received. To know that others forgive me when I mess up is also a great gift. However, the importance of both of these gifts and my ability to enjoy them to their full value depends greatly upon my own ability to forgive myself.
Matthew 6:12 says "...and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." This is the New Living Translation of that verse. The Common English Bible translation puts it this way "...Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us."
"A man's discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression." That is from Proverbs 19:11 in the New American Standard Bible translation. The Message paraphrase says it like this "Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget."
Neither you nor I would argue that, as a Christian, we are commanded by the Lord to forgive others. We are admonished by Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." This is quoted from the New American Standard Bible translation. It is more than clear what the Lord's will is regarding forgiveness of others.
What, then, does forgiving one's self have to do with our relationship with the Lord and/or with others? In the New Living Translation, 1 John 1: 8-10 has this to say about forgiveness...."If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." Now, I don't know what that says to you; but to me it says that confession of sins to God begets forgiveness of our sins, and not only forgiveness, but cleansing. When something is clean, what need is there to fret over it?
Let's suppose my house is dirty. (To be truthful, that wouldn't take much 'supposing'!) Anyway, my house is dirty. That's my confession. I work hard to clean my house, I make sacrifices to be sure the job is done well. That's what Jesus did for us on Calvary and the job doesn't need to be redone! Now, when my house is dirty again next weekend, should I feel guilty? Would that not be an absurdity? Why should I feel guilty when I worked hard this weekend to be sure my house is clean?
So, my spiritual 'house' is clean because Jesus has already made the ultimate sacrifice for the cleansing. My spiritual 'house' is clean because I've asked Jesus to forgive me and have confessed my sin to God. Now, from time to time, my spiritual 'house' becomes quite messy and dirty again. I allow the 'dirt' of my daily life to collect and ignore the daily tasks. My spiritual 'house' is dirty.
When I realize that, I turn to the Heavenly Father in prayer and cry out to Him to forgive my 'dirt' and to cleanse my 'house'. As soon as the words are uttered, forgiveness is freely given. My spiritual 'house' is again clean. Now, I ask you again, what do I have to feel guilty about? As I have said before, guilt is a product of Satan. It serves no good purpose in the life of a Christian. Rather, the Heavenly Father uses conviction to remind us of our need for cleansing.
Once the Father has forgiven me, why would I continue to torture myself with the guilt of my past sins? What good does that serve? How can I be an effective Christian if I am walking around bound by the chains of guilt? Jesus shed His blood to loose the chains of sin and guilt and to free us from the bonds of death.
We don't seem to have a problem accepting salvation as a future event in that we are forgiven and will someday occupy our heavenly home. Why do we have such a difficult time accepting that salvation is a present blessing. We can live a life free of guilt, shame, discouragement and ineffectiveness because Jesus wiped all of that away with His precious blood!
What a pity that we continue to live defeated lives when the price has already been paid for our liberty and an abundant and joy-filled life. The Father forgives us and we forgive others; may we all begin to practice forgiveness to ourselves so we can be the kingdom heir we were meant to be!
"Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep."