How many times has your mind replayed over and over again that mistake you have made in the past? When you think about it, you get a knot in your stomach and feel horrible about yourself. We all have experienced a situation where we really screwed up and we just can’t get past it. Sometimes we mentally beat ourselves up, knowing we screwed up yet again. You may say to yourself, “how could I have been so stupid?” or “how come I keep making the same mistakes?” or “I just can’t get it right!”
Although we know that Jesus died for our sins, we don’t always live in the freedom of forgiveness He offers. God has made us to live a life of true freedom, no longer held captive to sin or bitterness. We often hear about forgiveness in the context of forgiving others, which is important and necessary, but there is one person who we usually have the hardest time forgiving–ourselves.
There have been times in my life when I have messed up and have asked for God’s forgiveness, knowing that the Bible says He will forgive me, but I haven’t extended that same grace to myself. God might be extending forgiveness to me but I can’t always accept it. I don’t feel like I really deserve to be forgiven–I’ve messed up one too many times. Surely His grace only goes so far!
During these times, Psalms 103 reminds me what is true:
All that I am, praise the Lord; everything in me, praise his holy name.
My whole being, praise the Lord and do not forget all his kindnesses.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He saves my life from the grave and loads me with love and mercy.
He satisfies me with good things and makes me young again, like the eagle.
The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are wronged by others.
He showed his ways to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord shows mercy and is kind. He does not become angry quickly, and he has great love. He will not always accuse us, and he will not be angry forever.
He has not punished us as our sins should be punished; he has not repaid us for the evil we have done.
As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who respect him.
He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.
The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.”
The first time I saw these verses my heart finally understood the vast scope of God’s love and forgiveness. “He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.” Do you know how far that is? The east and west will never meet because they go on forever in opposite directions. It’s not just a really long distance, like saying as far as the moon and back. It’s no distance you can measure because it is infinite. God didn’t just remove our sins and past mistakes from us, but they are so far gone that they can never be found again.
So why do we hold on to something that God has forgiven and doesn’t remember anymore? When we don’t accept God’s grace and forgiveness as our own, we leave an opportunity for Satan to double-down on us with shame. Shame tears us down and attacks our identity, making us feel unworthy and disqualified for God’s love and forgiveness. Shame makes us doubt that we are even forgivable. When we believe the lie that Jesus’ sacrifice is big enough for everyone but ourselves, we aren’t able to experience the freedom that Christ died to give us.
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin…” Acts 13:38-39
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
The lies of shame and doubt keep us trapped and enslaved to our sin and past mistakes, but God’s immeasurable love for you, propelled Him to send His son to redeem you and remove the sin and shame that entraps you. When we choose to trust in Jesus, we are set free! We are able to let go of our past mistakes and choose the freedom we have in Christ.
So, dear one, let us live in freedom as children of God who are forgiven and loved. There is no end to His passion and love for you–His grace is never-ending. God’s grace and forgiveness are for YOU. Jesus thought of YOU when He went to the cross. Today’s the day to accept His forgiveness for whatever lays heavy on your heart, and allow yourself to be set free from the heavy burden of guilt and shame. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, and it’s God’s desire to see you live a life of freedom in every way!