You did it. You let yourself down. Worse, you let God down when you committed that sin you never thought yourself capable of… you just can’t seem to get past it. Like walking on a foot that didn’t heal right, you feel pain everytime you remember what you did. If someone else had done what you did, you might find it easier to forgive them, but you cannot seem to extend the same grace to yourself. You may even know that God forgave you the moment you asked, but you cannot stop holding yourself hostage to your own sin. I struggled with this same issue until I realized that forgiving myself was just as much an act of obedience to God as forgiving other offenders.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” -Colossians 3:13b
Why do we forgive OTHERS? Because the One who calls the shots in your life says you are to forgive. It really is an act of the will, a choice to open the Grudge Cage and let the offender go free. Why then, is it OK to lock YOU in that same cage?
It’s not OK.
It is an offense to the One who sets captives free. You are a part of the world God so loved and gave His only Son for, so for you to call “unforgiven” she whom God calls “forgiven” is to disrespect and contradict Him. It even suggests that your sin is so much worse than anybody else’s and undeserving of forgiveness. That’s pride, My Dear Sister. Besides, who said anything about deserving? If you deserved forgiveness, it wouldn’t be grace but a payment in exchange for a service rendered. Your sins cost blood, they already have been paid for in full, so why make extra payments?
I know, I know. You say it’s hard to forgive yourself because what you did was so terrible. Well, God agrees with you. You have taken the first step by agreeing with God about the ugliness of your sin. It’s called confession. But then He moves on from that and so must you. If His desire was for you to stew in a pot of your own boiling, He would not have bothered with the cross. His plan was to do a jail break for your soul so you could get on with the business of glorifying Him. How are you bringing Him glory by flogging yourself with unforgiveness? Martyrdom is not a good look on you, especially since Jesus did it so much better than you (gentle smile here). By His stripes you are healed. It is for freedom that Christ set you free. As a woman who has been where you are, on the authority of God’s word, I am standing on the outside of the cage and pleading with you to come out. The freedom and purpose are so wonderful out here!
So, What Do You Say?
You Can Pray: Dear Father, forgive me for the pride, disrespect, and disobedience of not forgiving myself. I have mistreated the woman you love so much and that woman is me. Right now, as an act of obedience to you I forgive (say your full name) for (name those specific offenses). Help me to love myself the way you love me… because you love me.
Let’s talk: Have you decided to stop mistreating the one God loves? If so, what way have you been mistreating and punishing yourself that ends today?