This is a strange time for me to be starting a blog. In the next week I will be returning to my hometown in an attempt to – not so much make something “right” – as to at least make it less wrong. It is my only option in this situation and yet I feel the heaviness of guilt cover me like an old winter blanket. I have insulated myself from the world and from God with this self imposed covering. “No one could truly love me if they ever knew my sins” I tell myself as I hunker down for yet another long night of self condemnation.
And yet God is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. As much as I want to ignore my forgiveness and hold on to my sins, God is telling me I am clinging to something that doesn’t even exist.
Why does this matter? If I want to wallow in my past crimes, who does it hurt?
Me, for one and as a child of God hurting myself means hurting Him. God sent his son to suffer and die so that I can be free. If I shackle myself to my past then I am ignoring God’s offer of freedom. I am acting as though His ultimate sacrifice is not enough for me.
When I don’t accept God’s forgiveness in humility, it is less likely that I will be forgiving to others. Only when I internalize the depth of my sin and the completeness of God’s forgiveness can I understand what God is asking of me when he tells me to forgive as I am forgiven. Those who are forgiven of much, love much.
When I hold on to my past I cooperate with the enemy. He is the accuser. When I agree with him about who I am, instead of agreeing with God, I further the enemy’s agenda.
When I don’t move beyond my past, I hurt. When I hurt, it’s easier to lose control. It is likely that I will lash out in anger to those closest to me or shut down in depression. I will feel unable to trust and will treat others as untrustworthy. I will react from a place of fear instead of love.
It is easy to believe that forgiving ourselves is less important than other spiritual concerns . I like to think it is something I can work on “later”. It is important to see myself as God sees me and accept His best for me.