Sunday, June 5, 2011

A key to true relationship - Self Forgiveness

If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves otherwise it’s like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him. ~ C.S. Lewis

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
The idea of forgiving ourselves for so many is a foreign idea but is so crucial for our growth, our health and our relationships, especially our relationship with God.  Some may think that by forgiving ourselves we are being self-serving or that we don’t deserve it because we are worthless sinners.  But what happens when we deny forgiving ourselves is that we set ourselves up above God.  He tells us that He is faithful to forgive us and that when he forgives us He remembers our sins no more.  So in not forgiving ourselves we are telling God that His forgiveness is not good enough for us. This stance and mindset grieves the Father because it keeps us from all that He has for us.

In Matthew 22 Jesus tells us: 37 Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” We can’t truly love others or truly forgive others until we love and forgive ourselves.  We can’t truly minister to others if we haven’t accepted the ministry that Jesus provides for us. 

Self unforgiveness can block healing from happening and can cause a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that skews how we view God and how we view others.  There is a lady that I know that was diagnosed with a terminal disease; she reached out to God and to others for prayer.  During a time of prayer someone had a word of knowledge about unforgiveness in her life so she forgave everyone she could think of but herself and the sickness continued.  She continued to reach out for prayer and the unforgiveness thing came up again, but this time the question was asked “have you forgiven yourself?” She had not, but proceeded to and she was healed.  A few years later she had come to the healing rooms for prayer for her shoulder; she was scheduled for surgery and really didn’t want to go through with it.  Self unforgiveness again came up, which she did saying “duh I should have thought of that…” Again she was healed and didn’t require surgery.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14 ESV)

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34 ESV)

How can you tell that you have forgiven yourself? One of the ways is that you don’t continue to feel the need to keep asking God to forgive you for things that He has already forgiven you for. Another way is that you smell better because you are hauling around the old dead you and you are comfortable in the new creation that Jesus made you.  I think one of the major ways to tell is that your joy meter increases, it overflows and spills out on those around you.  You find yourself getting opportunities to share your testimony and share God’s true love that He has for you.  You really start loving others as yourself as Jesus commanded, because you are actually equipped to do it.

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