Are you struggling to forgive yourself today? Maybe for something you did in the past? Some wrong decision? A turning away from God? Something you have given yourself a life sentence for? Maybe your kids are grown and you see the scars they carry, scars you think were inflicted by you. Maybe you think you’ve failed God, blaming yourself for a failed marriage. You think your verdict is just, fair. You heard the hollow echo of the metal doors you slammed on yourself. You threw the key far away, out of reach. After all, you messed up, right? Here is what God laid on my heart the other day in prayer: “When you don’t forgive yourself you are making yourself into the God you think I am, but I am not that God, I have already forgiven you!”
So many times the guilt we feel is totally false. Useless. Destructive.
If the guilt is real, confess it! He will not only forgive you, He will forget you ever did it!
Our God loves us with a relentless love we can scarcely understand. We are so used to living in a performance based world that we think God is that way too. We even make our churches performance driven! The church should be a safe place. A place we can expose our imperfections, our vulnerabilities, our sickness, a place of reconciliation.
“He (God) is not moody or capricious; He know no seasons of change. He has a single relentless stance toward us: He loves us. He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners.” Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
He loves us! Right now where we stand, without us changing one single thing about ourselves. When that love is grasped, really grasped, only then can we begin to live the life He calls us to live. A life that seeks to please Him, obey His commands, not because it scores us any points, but because we want to return the love that He has so mercifully shown us. We won’t reach perfection, but it’s okay. He will still love us, and there is nowhere His love won’t go to reach us.
His love chases us out to the desert wilderness like He followed a distraught Hagar, whispering His great mercy into her desperation. It sends Jonah to the Ninevites, even grows a shelter for him when he gets ticked because the Ninevites repent. His love is Hosea to our unworthy Gomer. Ultimately it went to a lonely hill and there it reaches us. Outside the gates……at Calvary.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. Col. 2:13-14