Do you keep playing your past mistakes over and over in your head? Are you living with the guilt and shame of what you’ve done? Do you find it easier to forgive others than yourself?
You’re certainly not alone, but God has already forgiven you. Jesus has paid for your sin and He’s already forgotten it.
So why are you still living with your shame and guilt?
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I have what I’d consider a bad memory. I mean there are so many things in my past that I just can’t remember, and it’s so incredibly frustrating. But man oh man, I think I can recite every detail of my past when I’ve hurt someone or done something I shouldn’t have.
Why is that?
Do you feel the same way? Do you have things in your past that you can’t forgive yourself for? Things that you feel you’ve got to pay for for the rest of your life?
I think that’s where we have trouble. We think because we’ve done wrong, we have to feel guilty and live with the shame, because then, perhaps, Jesus will know that we’re truly sorry.
I personally can give you a list that runs a mile long of things I’ve done, and some of these things are bad…I mean really bad! And I, like you, continually played that “shame game.”
But awhile ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and she and her guest were talking about this very thing.
The fact that most of us have things in our past that we would love to take back. How we beat ourselves up over and over again so that Jesus knows how sorry we are.
Then she said this,
“Do we think we are bigger than Jesus?”
Whoa…..of course not! I don’t think there’s a single person out there who thinks they’re bigger than our almighty creator.
But He’s already forgiven us for what we’ve done. He’s paid the ultimate price for us and yet, we can’t forgive ourselves? Pretty darn powerful when you think of it that way!
If God, who is greater than you, has already forgiven you, who are you not to forgive yourself? (Or anyone else for that matter!)
In Isaiah 43:25 (NLT), God tells us,
“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again.
He says it right there, my friend! He’ll never think of them again, so why are you?
How to forgive yourself
It’s time to let it go. It’s time to move past your guilt and shame, accept His forgiveness and begin living for your future and what you can control now.
Jesus already knows how sorry you are. He’s going to take your mistakes and bring something beautiful out of them.
Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.
Don’t become a hostage to your past. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to help someone else who’s been through what you have.
God’s not mad at you
Not long ago, I was driving to work and something took me back to some of my past mistakes. I began to play them over in my head and started berating myself, again, for the choices I made years ago.
And then, right there on a HUGE billboard, it read,
“God is not mad at you! No matter what you’ve done!”
Now that’s only something God could do – put a billboard in my path right when I needed it! All I could do was look up, shake my head, and say, “O.k. God, I’m listening!”
Guilt is toxic and when you’re living with all that mess, you can’t shine for Jesus. You’re too hung up on what you’ve done to be able to move forward and do His work, to be a blessing to others.
So stop remembering what God has already forgotten. Use your past and the blessings that He has given you so freely to help others with what you’ve been through.
You may have sinned, my friend, but you are not that sin. You may have made a bad choice, but you are not a bad person.
Jesus didn’t save you so you could walk around in shame. He saved you so you could be free. So that you could be a blessing to others and love them unconditionally.
You get a do-over
There’s not a single one of us that hasn’t sinned, that hasn’t wished, at one time or another, that we could take back the past, have a do-over.
You get that do-over!
By accepting His grace, His forgiveness, you get that do-over. You get to move forward and live differently. To use your past mistakes and sins to make a difference in the lives of others.
So, my friend, my challenge for you this week is that every time you start to feel that shame, you stop, and pray,
“Jesus, thank you for already forgiving me. Please help me let this go. Please teach me how I can live differently and use my past mistakes to learn and to shine for you.”
Stop remembering what God has already forgotten and break those chains of guilt and shame! Forgive yourself and let Him free you.
I promise, living in His freedom is far more glorious than living in the constant state of condemnation that we put upon ourselves!
Thanks for taking time to stop by the blog today! If you’re needing help forgiving others, be sure to read How to Pray for Someone Who’s Hurt You.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below and tell me what you’re doing to work on forgiving yourself. Or if you’d rather keep it private, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll take your prayers to the Lord on your behalf.
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Until next time, my friend……..
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