Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forgiving Ourselves

It's not easy.  I know from experience.  And maybe you do too.

What am I talking about?  Forgiving ourselves.  Letting go of the regrets we have from the past.

It happens.  We fail and do wrong.  After this, God forgives us when we confess and repent before Him.  Over time, people can forgive us too, with a little help from above.  That forgiveness which flows our way from God, our family, and our friends is a sweet, rich blessing.  

But sometimes it's hard for us to forgive ourselves.  We occasionally wrestle with shame over those things we've done wrong earlier in our lives.  We kick and beat up ourselves.  Painful memories and shameful feelings can haunt us for years if we're not careful.

Here's what I try to keep in mind:

1). Jesus paid the debt for all our sin on the cross.  It's already been taken care of.  The matter was settled long ago, and we have been forgiven.

2).  The past is the past.  It's over.  Done.  Finished.  We can not go back in time and get a do-over.

3).  We can learn from our past and let it help us live better in the present and in the future.  Everyone makes mistakes, but wise people learn from them.

4).  Let's move on with life.  I once heard Colin Powell say in a speech I attended in Orlando, "As I drive along the highway of life, I prefer to look straight ahead through the windshield into the future rather than stare backwards through the rear window at the past."  That saying still sticks with me.  We can't effectively make forward progress if we continue staring over our shoulder at what lies behind us.

We must forgive ourselves.  Yes, let's confess and repent if we have not already done so.  Let's repair what we can.  And let's learn whatever lessons can be gathered from what happened.  Then, we must let go of the negative experience and move on.  It's a new day and a new opportunity for us to live better with our new found wisdom.

I like these words from Pastor Johnny Hunt:  "Don't remain sidelined by past regret."  He's right.  We've got to get in the game of life.  People need us at our best, regardless of how checkered our past may be.  And God specializes in using imperfect people for His amazing work.

Christian, no matter what you did, you are forgiven.  Accept it.  And get back to living.

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