The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
The concept of forgiveness is mentioned well over 100 times in the Bible. There is forgive, forgiven, forgiveness, and forgiving. We see it in the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The prophets, gospels, epistles, and every book in between mentions forgiveness in some form. We see examples of man forgiving man, and God forgiving man. Those are both important, as we are supposed to forgive others, so that our sins will be forgiven (Matthew 6:14).
One scenario that is not covered in the Bible is man forgiving himself. Some of us need to learn how to do that. Now, don’t get me wrong. Man is in no way capable of absolving himself of his own sin, or anyone else’s for that matter. Forgiveness of sin only comes from God. The type of forgiveness we are talking about here, is releasing ourselves from the guilt associated with the person that we were before we came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, or maybe some sin that we have committed since then. Either way, you’ve got to let yourself off the hook. We should hate sin. We should do everything possible to avoid it in our lives. What we should not do however, is carry it around with us like a bucket of shame and guilt.
Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” That means that God forgives our sins, and they’ll never be held against us again. All of the guilt is gone, all of the same is gone, and we can live our lives, victorious in Christ. It’s not a license to sin, (see last previous column: The Grace of God) but it means that we are forgiven. It also means that we should forgive ourselves.
So why is it so important to forgive ourselves? Because Jesus made the greatest sacrifice ever made, by dying the most horrific and awful death anyone has ever died, so that our sins would be forgiven. You have probably heard it said, “I know I’m forgiven, but I can’t forgive myself.” Not only is that nonsense, but it’s dangerous to your relationship with God. If we cannot let go of our own sins, it is the same as saying that the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough. If the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough, or if we were capable of erasing our own sin, then his death was a waste, and he died for nothing. That sounds like some pretty strong language, but it’s true. If we can put the importance of our own forgiveness over the power of God in forgiving our sins, then we don’t need God at all.
So what does it look like to forgive ourselves? To forgive ourselves, means to hand all of our sins over to God. No matter how big or small you think they are, God can and will forgive them. It means that we no longer dwell on them, and they no longer have influence on our lives. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus has already won the battle! All we have to do is live in the victory. For some people, forgiving themselves means writing sins down and burning the paper, or flushing them down the toilet. All you’ve really got to do is tell God that you no longer want to carry the burden of your own sin, and he will take it from you.
Giving our sins to God, and having a relationship with him through Jesus doesn’t mean that our lives will instantly become easier, or that we’ll never have problems or sin again. It just means that He will give us the strength to endure whatever comes our way, and that he has already paid the price for our sins, so we don’t have to. So whatever you are holding on to, don’t waste any more of your life being weighed down by it. God has already forgiven you. Forgive yourself.
For more on this subject, join Danny tonight at 8pm when he goes live on the Rally For Christ Facebook and Instagram pages. Just follow the links below.
Danny Burnham Religion Contributor