By Shelle Frelo
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1
Forgiving ourselves is sometimes harder than forgiving others. Our inability to forgive ourselves is found in our inability to accept that our sin is already forgiven. We hold to the philosophy that if we feel that our sin is really great surely we will have to carry the weight of our sin around with us for a while.
God however, has a very different view of sin. Yes, there are sins that bring greater chastisement in the life of the believer (“Even blasphemy against Me or any other sin, can be forgiven-all except one: speaking against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.”-Matthew 12:31-32) sin is sin to God.
God looks for us to repent from sin and ask him for forgiveness. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ” There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.” Luke 24:47
God has already promised to forgive us any sin, not only to forgive it but also to forget it. “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”- Jeremiah 31:34
I will share my struggle with personal forgiveness with you. I sinned against a sister in Christ about ten years ago. I hurt her very deeply and I grieved the Holy Spirit in doing so. I betrayed her trust, lied to her, and was not a very good ambassador for Christ.
Till this day I struggle with that part of my walk with Christ. I think about the incident, and sometimes I even dwell on it. I think of how angry she was, how much I hurt her family by my actions. I remember asking her to please forgive me and she said no “If she wasn’t trying to live her life for Christ, she’d kick my a_ _”. (ok, don’t act so shocked it’s not like we all haven’t thought it at least once)
Now that I’m older and have grown a little in the Lord I know those words were not really just coming from anger, it was coming from hurt too.
I also learned that our forgiveness from Christ is not conditional on whether or not the person we wronged forgives us; it’s not even contingent on whether or not we forgive ourselves. Christ forgives us our sins because He said He would. (Simple isn’t)
Now since God has already forgiven our sin, this brings us back to where we started the problem of how to forgive ourselves.
It’s great to know that God has wiped the slate clean. Accepting that however is not that easy. It’s easier for us to the guilt, the regret, and the shame.
I struggle daily even as I’m writing this article with personal forgiveness. This is due to the three things that I know to be true. 1. I was completely wrong, 2. I can’t take back what happened, and 3. The incident between that sister and myself is the most embarrassing, selfish, non-Christ like thing that I’ve ever done.
Have you ever just hit the replay button in your head of a situation that didn’t go the way you would have liked it to? Satan uses that button on his remote every chance he gets. Well, God doesn’t have that button and in order for us not to get side tracked with Satan’s ability to rehash “STUFF” we too must get rid of this button.
To begin the healing process of forgiving ourselves we must start with acknowledging that God already knows! Know what? You say. He knows everything. He knew your heart when it happened, He knew your heart during, and He knows your heart now.
God has so many great things planned for each of our lives that we can not afford to waist precious moments bogged down under the weight of guilt and shame.
As I stated before forgiving oneself is a process, I am still working on my process. I will know when it is complete When I no longer dwell on the “what if’s.” When I know that even through that shortcoming God can be glorified.
Until this can happen I don’t try to solve the problem of personal forgiveness. I call on the Holy Spirit to clear my mind when Satan starts to clutter it with “remember what you did”. I call on the Holy Spirit to sustain me as I fear meeting that sister again and having to explain why. I call on the Holy Spirit to bring righteous repentance in my heart so that I do not commit this sin again. I call on the Holy Spirit to give me the acceptance in my heart of Grace and Forgiveness from the Lord God Jesus Christ.
“But you, dear friends, must build up your lives ever more strongly upon the foundation of our holy faith, learning to pray in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.”- Jude1:20
I pray that God through the Holy Spirit will speed you on your journey to personal forgiveness.
Shellē Frelo is Founder and President of Just For Us Ministries. JFUM is a non-denominational ministry for women and youth based in Kansas City, Mo. Her ministry offers, discipleship, youth enrichment, community outreaches, and events.
She has written several bible study curriculum for women and youth, devotionals, books on entrepreneurship and women’s ministries, parenting articles, and Christian articles. She has worked in the retail industry as a top level executive, and in education as a behavior interventionist. She has appeared on TBN, spoken at various events, churches, retreats, businesses, and corporate events.