Wrestling with unforgiveness of the past sins that I have committed has taken me on such an interesting journey. It seems odd that I came to understand God’s forgiveness even before I was capable of forgiving myself.
How many of you have done some stuff in your past that has been unlovely, corrupt, ugly, even despicable?
On my journey I have found it quite interesting to see that God does not place sins on a scale of 1-10. A simple look at the Ten Commandments makes that rather clear. You can stretch them as far as you want and the bottom line is that without the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we have all fallen short of all of the Commandments.
That is why our righteousness is considered as filthy rags as it says in Isaiah 64:6. But that being said, I will admit that it seems that the ‘uglier’ the sin we commit, the harder it is to reconcile, perhaps because our tendency is to rate sin.
Looking back at myself as a fifteen year old, on my own, revisiting the stuff that I let myself get into, made it very difficult to believe that God could and had forgiven my sin. Thankfully, and after much study in the Word, the truth prevailed and with a huge step of faith I received His forgiveness. I was then left to struggle with forgiving myself for what I had done! I knew what I had done and had been involved with were wrong and that I was completely rebellious in my actions.
It is here that I would like to put in a plug for Dr. Neil Anderson’s ministry, Freedom in Christ. This is just one of the ministries out there that focuses on our identity in Christ. I absorbed myself in his book Victory Over Darkness and God used it to change the way I saw myself. I can give credit to a ‘book’ because in this book were the many Scriptures that assured me that I was accepted by Him, secure in Him and significant to Him. I was able to believe that if God could forgive me, I had to be able to forgive myself.
You may have said to yourself, “How am I worthy of God’s love?”
- I got pregnant out of wedlock and the father of the child convinced me that we did not know each other well enough to get married. He decided that I would have an abortion to solve the predicament in which we found ourselves.
- When my first marriage was on the verge of divorce, a “Christian” counselor once asked me, “Do you believe that you are ‘good enough’ to marry a pastor?” My reaction was that no pastor would ever want me for a wife, not with all that I had done in my past! I was not a born again believer at that time but was attending church and seeing a church counselor to try to save my marriage.
- One of my loved ones believes he is a ‘good man’ because he does lots of ‘good things’. He also believes that he is not good when he does not do good. His belief is that to be a part of the kingdom of God you have to do lots of good things and keep your “nose clean” (so to speak).
My thoughts toward myself were that I certainly could never be used in God’s work because of all my past failures. Who would want what I had to offer especially if they knew what I had done?
I wonder just how many folks out there are letting their past rule instead of willingly making the decision to say, “If God can, then I must“? When I do not forgive my past, I am saying that God is not able to see me through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus.
I am not saying that you cannot have Christ in your heart if you are unable to forgive yourself of past sins. But, what I am saying is that it is a hurdle that, once leaped and internalized, will literally thrust you to the next level. Why walk around with a debility that is not necessary and that can be healed?
Too many of us with bad stuff in our past have simply skewed the truth, having a very shallow view of who we truly are as children of God.
My friend Peggy, who has spent years studying the Jewish roots of the faith, once shared the analogy of our identity in Christ like this: If you take a piece of white wool and dip it into a dye, it absorbs that dye and becomes that dye’s color. Now ‘color’ is not quite the same thing as our identity but the principle is the same. In essence, we have been dipped in the shed blood of Christ and we are now covered to the point that God sees us absorbed in Christ’s blood. We have now absorbed His very essence. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.
When we become born-again Christians, it is so vital that we make the decision to embrace the Word (God’s truth) and all it has to say to us. In doing so, we can eventually get to the place where we see that we can forgive ourselves for our jaded past because it is first and foremost washed under the blood of Christ.
The following list of verses are only a few that will help us to forgive ourselves because we have made the choice to believe them.
I am accepted…
John 1: 12 — God gave us the right to be His child.
Romans 5: 1 — We have been justified by faith.
1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20 — The Holy Spirit lives in me… I have been bought with Christ’s precious blood.
Ephesians 1:5 — I am now adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:14 — I have redemption through Christ’s blood and my sins are forgiven.
I am secure…
Romans 8: 1 — I am no longer under condemnation, free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8: 2 — I no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Hebrews 4: 16 — I am now able to boldly ask of God Himself having mercy and grace in my time of need.
I am significant…
John 15: 5 — I am a branch of the true vine and I abide in Him.
1 Corinthians 3: 16 — I am God’s temple and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2: 10 — I am created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Ephesians 3: 12 — I am free to boldly come before God without fear.
Oh, my friend, there is nothing that you can do to make yourself clean, good and usable to the King. Only by admitting your need of the Savior and accepting Jesus’ death on your behalf, then becoming crucified with Christ because it is no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you!
“Jesus, my Lord, my Savior and my Friend, I thank you for showing me that I can forgive myself as You have already done, of every unlovely thing in my past, present and future. It is because of Your amazing love for me that I can walk with a much lighter step as I live my life and serve You for the rest of my days. I will praise You, for Your Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I cannot even express my gratefulness for Your shed blood. Let me live my life in worship and wonder of Your majesty. Amen.”
Much of what has been shared in dealing with this stronghold of forgiving myself will tie in with our next one, “Walking in the Truth”, so we can believe what God says about who we are! Too many of us struggle with these issues, especially when coming from a self-debasing past.
From the Editor:
Thank you so much for your contribution Kimberly. It really is awesome to see how God works in and through us if we allow Him too. If you would like to read more of Kimberly’s writings on this blog you can find them here:
Kimberly thoroughly enjoys sharing her gift of encouragement by sharing her heart and story at various types of speaking engagements. She has been guest speaker at retreats, camps, many women’s events, as a guest speaker in church and as a representative for Psalm FM Radio station for many years. In radio rallies she has also served as worship leader. You can contact her through her website.
Readers, please leave a comment below to let Kimberly know what you think of her story, especially if it has touched your heart somehow.
©2013 Mark Davis