Christians are supposed to be known for their love and quickness to forgive. Many of us do pretty well at that- but how quick are we to forgive ourselves? We may even be willing to forgive ourselves for things we did before we came to know Jesus Christ- but what about the things we’ve done SINCE then? Believers still sin, we mess up, sometimes in very big ways. It seems harder to get past those things doesn’t it? I mean- we’re Christians and we’re not supposed to mess up big time, but we do.
Here’s a pretty typical process:
-We get convicted by the Holy Spirit
-We grieve over the sin and ask God’s forgiveness
-We receive forgiveness
-We carry the guilt of the sin from then on.
That last one is the problem. Once we receive the forgiveness that Christ so freely gives us- we are FREE! Not many of us live like that though. We think for some reason that we must keep the guilt on our shoulders since we messed up while living as a Christian. Let me put it plainly: CONVICTION is God- GUILT is not! When we feel guilty AFTER we have repented and turned from that sin, it is satan trying to keep us ineffective in our walk with Christ. Sure, we will still feel bad because of the pain it caused- but wallowing in that regret is not what God wants us to do.
After all, while the world expects Christians to be perfect- how much of the world can actually relate to the Christians that think they are? We are MUCH more effective for the cause of Christ as real human beings that mess up and then wear our forgiveness as a crown of grace.
We remember our sin because we have to learn from our mistakes… and there may even be very real consequences when we mess up (that’s just cause and effect). However, wearing guilt and self-condemnation as some sort of victimized banner is neither of God, nor does it do anything to right the wrong. If God calls us to forgive the way He forgives us, then WE are included in that! We are commanded to forgive- and that means forgiving ourselves as well as others.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
Jesus loves you too much for you to wallow in regret. He died for our freedom and not accepting that freedom is denying the very gift He offers us with His blood. It’s hard to accept that we’re flawed individuals and even harder to forgive ourselves when we sin. Yet, the fact that we are invited to BOLDLY come before the Throne of Grace and seek the face of the One who made us, should be enough of a confidence boost for us to get past our shortcomings and hold tight to the grace He offers us so freely. Forgive yourself… you’re not alone… use that lesson for your life and don’t waste your pain!