We are our own worst critics. Others often see us much differently than we see ourselves.
At the conclusion of a support group meeting, I had the opportunity to speak to one of the guys who regularly attends about my journey with Christ. He was amazed at how I’ve been able to forgive those who have hurt me “so easily.”
I almost spit the water out of my mouth when he said that! I certainly didn’t see it the same way he did. So, without hesitation I explained to him that “so easily” isn’t exactly how I would put it. It’s been a tough road for me, specifically forgiving others.
Like many of you, I have the unfortunate ability of holding on to past hurts with a tight grip. I stressed to him that without surrendering those hurts to God, I’d be in pretty bad shape. As we continued to talk, he opened up about his own struggles with forgiveness. He shared some details on some unfortunate events in his life and one particular antagonist that always seems to create major setbacks for him: himself.
Our conversation ended pretty abruptly so we weren’t able to dive deeper into this but the 10 minute conversation we had, has been on my mind since we had it days ago.
I bet for most of us we struggle with that same thing (forgiving ourselves), and because of it, we haven’t been able to forgive others in our lives as a result. I mean, it makes sense doesn’t it? If you can’t forgive yourself, how could you ever possibly forgive others? This isn’t the life Jesus wants for us.
I know for me, pride, lust and wandering eyes have effected me in such a destructive way. Despite seeking God in those moments, having other Godly men hold me accountable and repenting to the Lord seeking His forgiveness, I often saw myself as dirty and broken. There were times, my darker times, where all I could think about were the mistakes I’ve made and how I wished I could go back and make better decisions. Different decisions. My regrets ran deep and held me captive for quite sometime.
However, God wanted to use my brokenness for His glory. He wanted me to know that I was completely forgiven. The old Gene was gone. I was a new creation in Christ.
The first step, I needed to forgive myself.
As I started the process of forgiving myself, God began to paint a masterpiece that only He could do with the brokenness of my life.
And as I did just that, a weight was soon lifted off of me and tears of freedom would run down my face almost daily. I was forgiven and I could finally move on to the life filled with freedom that He has called me to. It was one of the best things I’ve experienced since giving my life to Christ.
So here is my encouragement for you today: evaluate what is weighing down your heart. Then, as the Word encourages us to do, bring your burden before the Lord and lay it down at His throne of grace. If we will allow Him to, God will take our past hurts and failures and do something special with them. Forgive yourself, especially since the one who matters most already has.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9)
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