Rarely do I use the phrase, “God has been laying ________ (fill in the blank) on my heart.” I usually do not feel like God has given me a message that is more important or life-giving than any other message. But this past Sunday’s sermon is the exception. In fact, I am still thinking about it days after I preached it. I can honestly say that God has been lying this message on my heart and mind and I think it could be a life altering message if we did it. So I want to repeat the basic concept again today.
First, saying we need to forgive ourselves is not a Biblical concept. So the title is a bit of a misnomer. Instead the Bible says that God forgives us through Jesus substitution death on the cross. The major question for many of us is, “We will let God forgive us?”
Second, the follow-up question is, “Will we let him forgive us completely?” Will we allow God to wipe away all of our sins AND the guilt that goes with them? To many Christians hold onto their guilt and cannot seem to let it go. It destroys their joy and can even destroy their faith.
That leads me to some simple ideas to let go of our guilt and somewhat forgive ourselves.
* Acknowledge My Sin
When sin is hidden, it gets bigger and bigger. I think that is why the Bible tells us …
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
-Confess your sin to God. Say it out loud.
-Confess your sin to another Christian you trust, who is willing to listen.
* Stop Punishing Yourself
Some of us hold onto our guilt because it makes us miserable. We somehow feel that if I withhold complete forgiveness then in some small way I am paying for my sin. As a Christian we believe that Jesus paid our debt of sin and there is NOTHING we can do to pay for it ourselves. I think that is why the Bible says …
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The flip side of this, is that we think God is punishing us for that sin in the past. We feel guilty and whenever something bad happens we feel like it must be God making us pay for our sin. Once again, the verse says, “There is no condemnation.”
* Forget The Past
God forgets your sins –
Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
You can too –
Philippians 3:13 (b) But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
This is the process of saying I will no longer listen to the negative voice in my head but rather the word of God. I will purposely choose to leave the past behind me every time it comes up.
I know those are simple thoughts, but I really believe that if we were to put them into practice it would increase our joy and invigorate our faith. God wants to forgive and to purify you. Will you let Him?