As I was reading in Galatians 5 this evening about how we who have faith are waiting for the day that God’s promise of our righteousness is carried out I have the memory of my experience while I was in my coma come to my mind. It is a memory that gives me the assurance that He is true to His promise. Assurance that He will not judge and condemn us, but see us as righteous.
While I was in my coma I had a visit from the Lord. Although I did not see him I did hear his voice and I felt his grand presence beside me. As we looked down at my helpless body hooked up to a life support machine and all other kinds of tubes and wires He asked me this one question, “what have you done with your life?” All the sudden I had clips of events in my life that I had a choice to make and I chose the wrong choice flash in front of me. I was overcome with shame, guilt, and regret as I watched my life play in front of me. As regret ran threw my veins and remorse filled my heart I wept and asked for forgiveness.
Suddenly I realized that my life could have been a lot different than it was. I realized that I was what made my life the way that it was by the choices that I made. God gave me truth about the person that I was but that I did not have to be. He gave me understanding of why I had become that person and what to do to change it. There was no criticism, judgement, or condemnation from him at all. All I felt was love, comfort, and understanding surrounding me as He said the word, “forgiveness”. I needed to forgive myself and the people that that had hurt me throughout my life. I had formed a hatred towards myself and others from all of the shame, guilt, and regret that I had built up from all of the wrong things that I had done and the things that had been done to me.
I never realized how much unforgiveness affected us until that day. And I never knew that I could have it towards myself. I had always put fault and blame on someone else as to why I did what I did or felt the way that I felt. You know the excuses of, “I wouldn’t have ______ if so and so wouldn’t have ______”, or “well so and so did this or that”, or “they made me do it”. I always had an excuse as to why it was not my fault that I thought, said, or did what I did. SO you can imagine the way that I felt when God said, “Mandie, you are the reason. You are the one that did it. No one made you do it. It was a choice that you made on your own. No one can make you think, say, or do anything. You allowed others to have a negative influence on you and you allowed them to have control over you.” That was a truth that cut me to the core. But it was also a truth that helped me to be set free.
As even more guilt rippled threw my body from the realization that I had caused my own misery I repented to God. As I wept uncontrollably He comforted me and ultimately set me free from the guilt by speaking these words to me, “It’s okay, you didn’t know any better. You reacted the only way that you knew how. You did the best that you could with the knowledge that you had.” It was if a blanket of peace was wrapped around me at that moment and all of the hatred that I had in my heart was gone. All of the shame, guilt, and regret that I once imprisoned me was no longer there. I felt the weight of the burden lift off of me. I truly felt as if I were a completely different person.
So I say all of that to say that God is true to His promise of righteousness. And I also say this to say that if you have anything that you need to forgive yourself or others for, please do it. It has nothing to do with the person that caused you harm. It has everything to do with setting yourself free from the affects of unforgiveness. God forgives us for all of our faults, failures, mistakes, and disobedience, and we have to do the same. He understands us more than we think and He does have mercy on us. Set yourself free from any shame, guilt, or regret that you may have by allowing yourself to forgive yourself, because Jesus already has.