Last Sunday, I preached on forgiveness. As I expected, the subject touched off a great deal of emotion. People are dealing with various things and various people. I pray this moves every person forward because many have been spiritually stuck because of an unwillingness to forgive.
I have also thought in recent days about a parallel subject—forgiving ourselves. For many, the hardest thing that you will ever do is forgive yourself.
Some have let Satan convince them that past sin has eliminated the possibility of God loving them. They are carrying around guilt as though their past is a permanent bag on their back. If that someone is you, God wants nothing more than for you to drop that sack and embrace His grace.
Forgiving yourself is really all about understanding God’s grace!
Forgiving yourself is the hang-up that keeps you from living in the grace of Christ.
The Apostle Paul had quite a past. He revealed his soul in his personal letter to Timothy.
I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17)
Notice these truths about your past and put that sack down never to pick it up again!
• In Christ, your past <u>represents</u> what you were formerly. (1:13)
• In Christ, your past <u>reminds</u> you of what you were in ignorance. (1:13)
• In Christ, your past <u>reflects</u> the greatness of God’s grace. (1:14-15)
Rather than your past being a reminder of how awful you are, let it be a reminder of how awesome God is.
And remember this: Conviction may be from God, but condemnation is from Satan.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)