By Barb Mulvey
So often in the counseling room I hear women tell me they can’t forgive themselves. In tears they condemn themselves for things that they have done. I would like to take some time to address that concept.
Point 1. There is no Biblical verse to support the idea that we must forgive ourselves.
The Bible tells us to ask God to forgive us. This is a vertical flow – we ask God to forgive us (1 John 1:9) and He does. Also Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying (i.e.; talking to God), if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that you Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” ‘Forgive’ here is a command. So in prayer we hand our offenses over to Him, releasing our ‘right’ to revenge. Luke 17:3-4 talks about forgiving others – this is the outward/horizontal flow of forgiveness. There is no verse that tells us to forgive ourselves – an inward flow.
Point 2. It is a trick, a deception of Satan.
If Jesus paid for all sin on the cross, and I believe He did, then Jesus has already paid for that sin. Satan is tricking you into paying for it twice. You are beating yourself up, punishing yourself for something that is already paid for. If you paid off your mortgage and held the title in your hand, you would be celebrating. If the bank called and said, “No, you have to pay for it again,” you would not. Why are you paying for your sin twice?
Point 3. You are the small claims court; God is the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court declares you not guilty, (which it has) – whose verdict are you going to accept: the small claims court? or the Supreme Court? You can stay imprisoned by your own volition, but God has declared you not guilty (based on the blood of Christ).
Point 4. This is a statement of pride.
You are basically saying, “I just can’t believe I did that.” It is a statement of someone who doesn’t acknowledge that their sin nature is still alive and well. They think they are above sin. They are not. James tells us “we all stumble in many ways” 1 John 1:8 tells us “if we say we are without sin, we lie and the truth is not in us.” Basically you are saying ‘my standard of holiness is higher than God’s. He can forgive me BUT I can’t forgive myself.’ What you are really saying is ‘I have not received the forgiveness God has offered me.’ You see, just like love, God pours out forgiveness. The question is, have you received it? Has Satan tricked you into not receiving God’s forgiveness? We know in Matthew 18, the story of the unmerciful servant, that God forgave him lavishly when he asked. When we ask, God forgives. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
The real problem is a lack of faith.
Do you believe God forgives?
Or do you believe you have to ‘add’ your own punishment to Christ’s cross?
Will you walk in the wonder of the gift of forgiveness that Christ’s shed blood bought for you? God has forgiven you! All your sins - under the blood! You are purified of your unrighteousness! Open your heart and receive God’s forgiveness right now. Walk in His freedom today!
by Susan Swafford Broken From Silence book www.YourCoreAdvantage.com
The Holy Spirit opens our hearts to understand the meaning of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. In this demonstration of love, He grants us forgiveness. Yet only those who walk in the Spirit, and move from a self-centered existence to a more God-centered one, will enjoy the benefits of this. We need to take our eyes off our circumstances, and quit seeing ourselves as victims. Our pride often prevents us from enjoying God’s forgiveness. When we acknowledge our sin to God, and realize that there is nothing we can do to merit His forgiveness—that Christ did it all—we can have genuine peace in our hearts.
When God opens our spiritual eyes to accept conviction of our sin, we can see it as a blessing instead of a source of condemnation. God does not want us to live in constant misery over past sin. He wants us to deal effectively with these areas in our lives so we can be healed and speak the truth of His goodness to the lost.
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal...
Jeremiah 30:17 NRSV
God, in His grace, will increasingly bring us to a point where we stop making excuses for our sinful choices. Pretexts for evil behavior are futile. They express an unrepentant attitude of heart; as if Christ’s suffering does not apply to “me” for this bad choice. When we allow such things to stand, we ultimately say that we do not need to seek forgiveness because we had good reasons for what we did, or we had no other choice.
Praise God that he has opened our hearts to spiritual truth and that we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace for forgiveness and life. Praise God that we no longer have to justify ourselves, but we are now justified through Christ!
No matter what journey our life has taken; God’s forgiveness extends to every sin, purifies us from moral corruption, and restores us to an unimpaired spiritual condition. Though sold into slavery by our sin, the precious blood of Jesus bought us, and liberated us from captivity.
Come, let’s talk this over! Says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!
Isaiah 1:18 TLB
Because of this gift, we should live in such a way that pleases the Lord, praise Him, and not forget what He has done for us. He forgave all our sins—even the sin of abortion. He rescued us from self-destruction, and from eternal damnation. He continues to heal us from pain and moral corruption. God surrounds us with loving kindness and tender mercies that are new every morning.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits--who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy...