Forgiveness is the promise never to bring up again the hurt caused us by another person … not to them, not to God, not to ourselves and not to anyone else. Forgiveness is a choice that we must make. We are only responsible for ourselves, so we must make the right choice. We have been learning about the subject of forgiveness at Centennial Baptist Church on Sunday’s in our teaching series, “No Longer Bound: Living in the Freedom of Forgiveness.” You can find the audio and sermon notes for the lessons at http://centennial-baptist-church.twenty28cms.co/no-longer-bound.
But what do you do when the person you need to forgive is yourself? Have you ever said, “I can’t believe I did that.” Or, “I can’t believe I just said that.” Have you ever felt ashamed of yourself? Ever wished you could retrieve a word, sentence or conversation? Anything in your past haunt you? Ever done something you wish you had not done?
The struggle against self-forgiveness is a symptom of a deeper heart issue, not the cause. This struggle is based upon possibly ignorance of the truth or an unwillingness to see one’s self as God sees us. There is a tension between two realities that is true for all believers: We are fallen and desperately in need of grace; we are deeply loved and accepted by God. Failure to embrace both realities, on a heart level, can cause a person to miss the joy of being forgiven by God and cleansed by His grace.
We will never find hope, joy, meaning and significance in life as long as we look for it apart from God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance. Our pride causes us to think that we must do enough good to salve our guilty conscience. The truth is that we can never do enough good to cleanse our sin or its consequences. Only God’s grace can restore a life. 1John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It does not matter what you have done, what you have not done or where you come from. God’s grace is sufficient to cleanse, heal and restore. I want to invite you to join me and my friends at Centennial Baptist Church this Sunday, May 18 as we learn about how to deal with the enemy of ourselves when it comes to forgiveness. I can’t wait to see you this weekend.