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Forgiving Ourselves (2)

As we think together about how hard it can be to forgive ourselves, I took a chance to ask some co-workers, some of whom just happen to be counselors, why they think so many of us continue to beat ourselves up for past mistakes. I thought you might be interested in reading a summary of some quick notes I grabbed:

1. We all seem to have a need to atone or suffer to pay for the wrongs we’ve done.

2. Sometimes we find it hard to believe we could have done such awful things… or that we could be that bad. Yet, in the truth we see why we really do need the forgiveness and mercy of God.

3. There is a time for legitimate grief that is necessary to make important changes in our life. But we have to make sure that such healthy sorrow does not turn into the kind of shame that becomes our excuse for not moving on.

4. Just as importantly we need to make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of defining ourselves in terms of our wrongs rather than in terms of what God can do in and through us.

5. Maybe some of us say we find it easier to believe God has forgiven us– without really knowing what we mean– or what it could mean if we really did accept fully the forgiveness of God.

6. Some of us let our shame shut out the love that God has for us.

7. And let’s not forget that we do have a real enemy that wants us to believe the lie that our past failures have made it impossible for us to move ahead.

I think there’s a lot here to think about, as there also is in the comments you are making. Thanks for sharing the journey.

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4 Responses to “Forgiving Ourselves (2)”

  1. Mart De Haan says:

    Yes, you’re right. According to the New Testament, when we choose to receive the forgiveness of Christ, the moral and spiritual guilt of our sin is removed once and for all. There will therefore be no final condemnation for those who have received such mercy. What does remain for the family of God, however, is an evaluation of our relationship and service to God– which does allow for degrees of reward and loss.

    It’s in this sense, I believe that the Apostle Paul writes to people who are “in Christ” in 1Corinthians 3:9-15).

    Another way of saying it is that the forgiveness of salvation removes for ever the condemning judgment of God. What remains is the loving accountability that God offers his children– and which involves a kind of family forgiveness like the Apostle John refers to in 1John 1:9.

  2. worstofall says:

    Dear Mart,
    I grew up with the idea that you have to be 1st in life for one to be successful. This bred in me a spirit
    of competitiveness with all around me and needless to say that I struggle with it in my spiritual life too. I mean that I have to be the best christian around. My struggle is whether in heaven also there’ll be a sort of graded rewards or whether it’ll be like you’ll be glad for the rewards others have received. I mean would I regret in Heaven for all the missed opportunities to serve God. Will that be an eternal regret.

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