Tag Archives: sin

Forgiving Myself

14 Sep

“You must forgive yourself.” I’ve heard those words more than once. Maybe you have too.

I really enjoy the Patrick Bowers thrillers by Steven James. In his fifth book, The Queen, Bowers’ stepdaughter struggles with guilt. Her psychiatrist tells her, “You have to learn to forgive yourself.” Tessa threatens to break his glass coffee table, and then makes a profound statement. “Look, if I break this thing, you can forgive the debt I owe you if you want, or you can make me pay for it, but how can I forgive myself for the debt that I owe you?”

 Until I read that novel, I assumed I should/could forgive myself. However, I’ve come to understand that I have no power to cancel a debt I owe to another, nor can I pardon or excuse my wrong behavior. However, I can pursue forgiveness. I can humbly apologize, ask forgiveness, and where possible, make restitution. But there’s more.

David’s story reminds me of the heart of any offense. You remember David the teenage shepherd who slew Goliath. He grew up to be a mighty warrior king who surrendered to adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11, 12). Finally repentant and broken, David composed Psalm 51.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment” (Psalm 51:1–4 NRSV).

Although we hurt others, we sin against God. Yet we have God’s merciful promise, “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 NKJV).

So why can’t we get past it? Perhaps it happened long ago, but the shame, guilt, and humiliation remains a festering wound of unworthiness. How can I forgive myself?

I find only one answer:  I can’t. I have no power to forgive myself. Instead, I need to accept the forgiveness that God offers in Jesus Christ. God forgave David, therefore, He can also forgive me and “restore to me the joy of [His] salvation (Psalm 51:12a).

“ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). If I believe it, I will joyfully live it.

I close with wisdom from Andrée Seu, who wrote the following blogMonday, October 5th, 2009 | 7:47 AM

An Insomniac’s Psalm 103: Verse 11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.”

The Christians I admire most—and I know precious few of them—are those whom I can see are so confident of God’s undeserved love that they are not constantly revisiting their sin or crime, but they have moved on with their lives and have peace and joy. Oh, if the matter of their past comes up, they will not deny it, and will be the first to call it evil. But you will not suck them into a morbid dwelling on it.

I pray we will live courageously “confident of God’s undeserved love.”

It’s Time for Some Good News

18 May

There’s no shortage of bad news. The media thrives on our morbid curiosity, our tears, and our outrage. When an upbeat story finds its way to social media, people like it and share it multiple times. We long for good news.

I have good news that can bring smiles and change our outlook on life. For some, this is a reminder of what you already know. For others, the good news will be brand-new.

Here’s the Good News: You are loved.

This is not the “I love you for what I can get out of you” kind of love. That’s not love at all; that’s lust. You are loved affectionately, unselfishly, and wholeheartedly. You are valued just as you are. This isn’t a love you earn. It’s a gift. However, you do have to accept or receive the gift.

How do I know so much about love? If you read my post on April 13, you know I choose to believe the Bible. It’s a love story from beginning to end. It’s my joy to share a vital part of that love story.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that [God] loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10 NIV).

Sin means missing the mark as an archer might miss the bull’s-eye or straying from the path as in getting lost. God created us for perfect love and relationship with Himself and others. That’s the target, the ideal path in life. Admitting we miss the mark is the first step in recognizing our need of a Savior. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NASB95).

All—every one of us needs a Savior, My friend Mike says, “Some of us can jump further than others, but no one can jump the Grand Canyon.” That’s why Jesus came from heaven to earth.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16–17 NIV).

What should we believe about Jesus Christ? Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to [more than 500 people]” (1 Corinthians 15:3–5 NASB95).

If Christ remained in the grave, the story would be over. However, because He lives, we live also. Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26 NASB95).

How will you answer that question? Will you believe and receive Christ and His affectionate, unselfish, and wholehearted love? “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NASB95).

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “ If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:9–11 NASB95).

Please share your response to this good news. I’d be honored to hear from you.