Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Forgiving Ourselves

Over the past few years, I have written a number of articles on forgiveness and forgiving others (see About Forgiveness). Unforgiveness — unwillingness to forgive others — is a prevalent scheme of the devil, and a great hindrance to prayer and faith. But I am discovering that, very often, forgiving ourselves is the hardest one to do.

Recently I was talking with a woman who called our ministry. She was very distraught about her life, and also very angry. But her anger was not at other people; she was able to forgive everyone who had hurt or betrayed her. But she now realized that she had come to this point in her life because of her own actions and choices, and she was very angry with herself.

She needs to forgive herself.

Reflecting on this, I have been asking the Lord why we often find it so hard to forgive ourselves. The answer I heard back was that we need to believe the gospel more, to trust that God has forgiven us in Jesus Christ.

All our sinful actions and choices were taken up by the Lord Jesus and nailed to the cross. He was made sin for us, though He himself never sinned, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is, in Him, through faith in Him, we are made righteous before God. Our sins are forgiven, done away with, and it is God’s own righteousness that is now at work in us.

We may have gotten ourselves into some terrible messes, but Jesus came to get us out and put us on track with the wonderful purpose God has for us. We receive this forgiveness, this deliverance, this salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. If God has forgiven us, then we can forgive ourselves.