One of the more dramatic experiences that I had over the weekend was about forgiveness.
As ‘good Christian people’, I believe that we should always strive to get along with everyone. I think that is what the scripture means when it says:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Roms 12:18
Living peaceably with people means that we should always operate in forgiveness. That means, we should never let the wrongs that people do harbour in our minds.
Well, I’d like to think that I have been pretty good with forgiving people. I mean, a year ago, I made a list…a very long list of all the people that were on my mind. And I surrendered all of them up to God at my first Encounter. Man I can’t tell you how light I felt after.
During this last encounter weekend though, after listening to the message on forgiveness, I felt that I needed to go to the foot of the cross and forgive someone. I didn’t think there was anyone on my heart, but out of obedience, I knelt at the cross, trusting that God would just reveal it to me if there was.
After two minutes, I started to go through the list of people I had. And I truly couldn’t find anyone that I hadn’t forgiven.
Then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me as clear as day “Forgive yourself”.
I love having these audible voice moments with God… because you can’t question them.
It dawned on me right away, that although I had forgiven everyone for the wrongs I felt they did to me. I had not forgiven myself.
You see, if you can get to a place of forgiving people, you’ve achieved a lot. But very rarely do we ever realize that part of the process of forgiveness is forgiving yourself.
Have you ever dated the wrong person? Married the wrong person? Yelled at someone? Done something contrary to what God would have you do? Then sooner or later it all blows up in your face. When it all goes ‘south’, whether or not it is beyond your control, deep down inside you blame yourself. You know you blame yourself when you make statements like “what was I thinking?”. Or you condemn yourself for what has happened.
I can’t speak for you, but often I have done things that made me look back and go “What did I do wrong?” or “What is wrong with me?” or “what was I thinking?” or “why am I so fat?” or “I shouldn’t have done that!”
I had not even thought of how much of that I had been doing over the years…which inevitably led to me trying fix things in me that either were never broken or were not meant to be fixed by my flesh.
But God knew and saw. And so He decided that it was time for me to forgive myself.
I can’t tell you what a load has been lifted. I now know that even if I do things that I am not proud of, or that would grieve the heart of God, I need not come down hard on myself. I can simply acknowledge that I made a mistake, forgive myself and ask God to give me the grace to not do that again.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1