You Can Let Go of Your Past!
I meet people all the time who say, “I know God has forgiven me, but I am having a hard time forgiving myself.”
Have you heard people you know say this? Maybe it’s something you are struggling with right now. If so, you are not alone. Many people find it difficult to forgive themselves.
I wish I could point you to a verse in the Bible that teaches self-forgiveness. The Bible never addresses the issue. Jesus never said to anyone that they need to forgive themselves.
When people speak of forgiving themselves, they are actually saying they want to let go of their past and all the fear, guilt and shame associated with their past. The Stanford Forgiveness project conducted by Stanford University suggests that we use “forgiveness to make peace with the past.”
They go on to say that “forgiveness may be, as the religious traditions have been claiming all along, a rich path to greater peace and understanding that also has both psychosocial and physiological value.”
The worldly path to self-forgiveness is paved with self-love, self-acceptance and self-affirmation, which sounds good and healthy, but it misses the point.
Forgiveness means being released from punishment due to sin. It’s rooted in God’s grace and holiness. It is God’s act in Jesus to satisfy his justice. God did not let your sins go unpunished. It is crucial that you know and understand this.
Forgiveness became yours the day you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead. David painted the most vivid picture as to what this means: “…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Consider this verse: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15). What is the answer? That we not miss the grace of God. The result of missing God’s grace is bitterness that causes trouble. Someone struggling to forgive themselves is a troubled person. They are troubled because they carry with them the stains of their past. In light of Christ’s finished work on the cross, are you willing to let go of your past?