Does forgiving others begin with forgiving myself?

Does forgiving others begin with forgiving myself?

A Story by Precious Prodigal

April 28, 2014: Does forgiving others begin with forgiving myself? Please "SHARE" this new Precious Prodigal Post:

1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”

Forgiveness must be important since it’s mentioned in some form of the word “forgive” more than 140 times in the Bible, depending on the version you use. The count goes up drastically if you add in similar words like remission. Of course, forgiveness begins with our seeking that forgiveness from God, who alone can forgive our sins and make us a new person.

Assuming you and I have sought the Lord’s forgiveness for our own sins and have received Christ, then God expects us to forgive even as He has forgiven us. (Eph 4:32) But where does that forgiveness begin, and why do we have such a problem forgiving people who have hurt us?

If there’s a breakdown between God forgiving us and us forgiving others, might it be that we haven’t yet forgiven ourselves? I’m not saying we should make light of the things we’ve done wrong or that we should forget the harm we’ve done. But every person I’ve ever seen who couldn’t forgive others was also having problems with forgiving himself.

I understand and can sometimes identify with David’s saying, “…I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51:3) You know that one or even more than one sin he’s talking about. It’s the one you can’t forget and that Satan reminds you of when you try to pray or do something for God. It’s the one that makes you cry when the choir is singing about forgiveness. It’s the one your own heart still condemns you for even though you've confessed it even wept before the Lord about it.

The apostle John addressed that very thing in 1 John 3:20 by saying that “when our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and He knows all things.” While God knows about our sin, He also knows some other things. He knows the rejection and pain we’ve carried all our lives. He knows how hard we’ve tried and what we’ve had to overcome in order just to get where we are. He knows that some of us have had to struggle and fight our entire lives just to survive.

He also knows our hearts are broken over the sins and mistakes of our past. He knows and what He says about us and our sin is, "...I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isa 43: 1) If God has forgiven us, redeemed us, and called us by our names…don’t you think it’s time for us to begin the healing process by forgiving ourselves? Then maybe…just maybe…we’ll be able to let others out of that emotional prison once we have the keys to free ourselves.

Challenge for Today: Can you, just for today, trust the God who is greater than your heart and begin to forgive yourself?

© 2014 Precious Prodigal

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