Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Importance of Forgiving Our Self - Part 1

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Did you know that once we come to Christ for forgiveness, God no longer remembers our sins (Hebrews 8:12)? Forgiveness is one of the spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, gathering with the Saints, etc. that Jesus calls us to do as His followers.

Sometimes, it is hard to forgive someone who wounded us so deeply. We feel that they do not deserve to be "let off the hook". We risk ruining our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, however, if we choose not to forgive someone. We also cut off God's ability to forgive us and to repay the person who wounded us with His vengeance.

At other times, it is easier to forgive others than it is to forgive our self. However, the same principles in God's Word concerning our responsibility to forgive others, also applies to forgiving our self. As humans, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes.

We can eliminate self-rejection by reminding our self that even in our failures, God forgave us 2000 years ago. He took from us the burden of guilt for our actions and nailed it to the cross, because He already knew about and forgave us for what we ,have done. If God can forgive us, how can we do any less than to forgive our self?

As we accept Christ's sacrifice for our sins, we can let go of our anger against our self and forgive our self. There is no way that we can truly love others if we do not first love God and then our self. Luke 10: 27 admonishes us, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

God calls us to let go of our need to make an effort or to do penance to make up for our past offenses. Jesus already took care of the penalty for us (Acts 13:38). Sometimes, we even hold grudges against our self for our past disappointments, failures and mistakes.

God holds no grudges. He casts the memory of our offenses as far away as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12). Think about that...when you travel east around the globe, there is never a point that you start traveling west. The east never meets the west.

God gives us endless and unconditional forgiveness if we will forgive those who offend or wound us (Hebrews 8: 12). If God cares enough to forgive us, then we can forgive our self too.

If we refuse to forgive our self, then there are negative consequences ~ stress, inner turmoil, panic attacks, loss of sleep, irritability, chronic physical illnesses, anger, feeling overwhelmed and having strained relationships with others.

In Christ, we have redemption through His blood. He forgives all of our sins, in accordance with the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). His perfect plan may even use all of my foibles to help someone else in their time of need.

Father God, remind us that unresolved, unproductive and unnecessary anger, hatred and blaming of our self are counterproductive. If we do not forgive our self, we run the risk of more unresolved hurt, pain and suffering from self-destructive behaviors. These negative emotions ruin our life and make us toxic people who get pushed away and avoided by those we need in our life.

We have guilt and remorse eating away at us from the inside out. Subconsciously, we may even be seeking revenge and paybacks toward our self in a way that we are not even aware of. We have a putrefying wound that is never cured, until we accept Your healing in this area of our life. Help us to forgive others and to love them as we love our self. Remind us that You remember our sins no more, and we should do this too.

Thought for the Day:
As long as I reject myself and withhold approval from myself, my focus in on me instead of on Christ, and a self-centered Christian is little help to the Kingdom of God; if I focus on Him instead, God never fails to send me reassurance through His Word or an encouraging remark from a friend or even a stranger.

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