Have you ever done something and held it against yourself? It doesn’t even have to be something big, it could be something small like eating too much junk food for a day. But rather it be something big or small you felt bad about it and continued to have that nagging bad feeling. Recently God has been dealing with me about this issue. I had this thought come to me during prayer one night, “you keep asking me to forgive you but when are you going to forgive yourself?” Those words have sent me on a journey that has made me realize some things. And I have a feeling that this is something that many have a problem with as well.
Because we love and respect God we want to do right all the time. Because we know that he has saved us from something horrible we want to honor him. Because we know that he has completely turned our lives around we want to be our best at all times. We want to show gratitude for the blessings in our lives by always being loving towards others.
We do good for awhile, and then we slip up. Our spirit says not to eat that junk food, but we do. God tells us to do something, but we don’t. We know that we are suppose to do this or that, but we come up with an excuse and don’t do it. The Holy spirit tells you that it is a really bad idea that you do this or that because you know that it was a past habit, but you think that you can just do it once, so you do it anyway. Now the game is on.
The bible says to ask for forgiveness and you will be forgiven. It says that God removes our sin as far as the east is from the west and that he remembers them no more. So we ask for forgiveness but do we receive it? And, if, we receive his forgiveness do we forgive ourselves? I believe this is one of the areas that the enemy loves to run rampant in. He knows the damage that it causes and the affect that it can have on our lives so it is a strategy that he often uses against us.
God can forgive us every time we ask but if we don’t forgive ourselves then we are storing up feelings that have a very negative effect on us. It all starts with a quick thought of “I messed up but I won’t do that again” and a feeling of slight disappointment in yourself but you don’t pay too much attention to it. Then you do it again. Now you have the thought, “I did it again, what is wrong with me? I know that I shouldn’t do that and I won’t do it again.” And you have more of that feeling of disappointment except now you also have a little bit of anger towards yourself. Next thing you know you have done it again and again. Now the thoughts are something like, “see I knew that you were not really saved. Look at what you are doing. God told you to not do it, but here you go disobeying him. And you know that He does not like disobedience so he doesn’t like you anymore because you are a bad person. You’ve messed up big time now. Look at how disrespectful you are to God. You don’t deserve to be loved by God anymore. ” So now you not only have disappointment and anger, you also have guilt and shame towards yourself. The more that you do not want to do “the thing” that you have been doing, the more that you do it.
You see, when we have guilt about our actions it causes us to do the actions even more and then adds some. Guilt and condemnation run hand in hand. The enemy uses guilt to bring condemnation. Guilt is a feeling that we have because of something that we did that we view as wrong. It is really just an emotion. But the enemy takes that feeling and puts thoughts to it that makes us convict ourselves of being bad or wrong in the worst ways. We come to think that we don’t deserve any better and let the problem control us. We may say that we know that we deserve better but if we are doing something that we really do not want to do at least a part of us does feel as if we do not deserve better. Because if we truly believed that we deserved better and knew what to do to do better we would do it. Are you with me?
God does not want us to hold onto the feeling of guilt for the wrongs that we do. Yes, He wants us to be sorry for our wrongs and repent, but He does not want us to hold onto the offense that He let go of when we repented. And just because we have repented does not mean that we are not going to do it again, because we probably will (for awhile at least). It means that we turn away from the action, we do not want to do it (again), and we ask for help with stopping it. It may take some time for you to be completely free but the point is that you truly do not want to be doing it. Once we are able to receive His forgiveness, and we forgive ourselves, the weight of the guilt will be lifted and we will begin to have the strength to fight for a better self/life. Once the guilt is gone the enemy will not have the feelings to play against the thoughts. We will have feelings of power, forgiveness, determination, and peace to fight against the thoughts that the enemy is using to try to keep us in bondage.
Lighten your load. Free yourself. Accept God’s forgiveness. Forgive yourself my friend. If you have asked for forgiveness and you have repented then God is on your side with the situation. He knows that you acknowledge your wrong doings, that you don’t want to continue to do them, that you are a human being with many weaknesses, and that it may take some time to gain complete freedom. He is working in and with you just as long as you never give up. He is telling you that the only time you can fail is when you give up, so just don’t give up. He is patient and kind, full of mercy and compassion. He isn’t looking at what you did yesterday, last week, last month, last year, he is looking at what you will be doing in the future. and do not give up on yourself because He will never give up on you.