“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5 ESV
One day, I listened to a story about a woman who had a past that Christ had saved her from, which she had kept hidden for many years. Somehow she kept it so well hidden even her husband of 10 years didn’t suspect she had secrets that filled the attic of her heart and mind. Eventually, though, she began to run into her past nearly everywhere she went. People who knew her back when, those who reminded her that she had a concealed history. These encounters were constant reminders of who she used to be, chasing her into retreat from the truth in shame, and a self-loathing that had strong potential to bubble over and tarnish other areas of her life. Guess what she forgot?
She had forgotten that Christ had already forgiven her! Instead of continuing to look up at the Son shine, she looked down and began to look at the dirt covered possibilities of all that could happen if the truth came to light. God is Supreme. He is Alpha and Omega which represents the fact that God is the Bookends on all areas of life. Everything starts with Him and everything ends with Him. He has the final say. So, why do we often hide from the truth of, or focus on the residue from, the things He’s already lifted from us after confessing, changing, and asking for His forgiveness?
~~ Fear of what others will think.
~~ Fear of rejection from loved ones or others, in general.
From my own journey through the process of forgiveness, forgiveness is intended to be an interconnected loop. It is something we get from God, we are to give to those who hurt us, and hopefully we are to get forgiveness from others. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that because each person is responsible for their part in giving and seeking forgiveness. Be willing to do the only part in this process that you can control; your own by seeking and accepting God’s forgiveness, and give to others as well as to yourself. The interesting thing about forgiveness is that it is, more often than not, thought of in the context of it being given to other people, though, there are many times we don’t forgive ourselves. This unforgiveness of self can spill over into being fearful, which can cause defensiveness or provoking disappointment towards what others may say or feel about our mistakes or shortcomings. Thus, at times, unforgiveness towards others can be a product of our not forgiving ourselves. When you learn to accept yourself as imperfect, and forgiven, what others think and say won’t be so frightening. You rest in the peace of God’s grace.
Forgive yourself if you haven’t yet made it to where you would like to be in this stage of your life, though many you know seem to have surpassed your time table. There is a time for everything. God’s got a schedule and a set of blessings just for you that are as unique as your fingerprints. Your time is coming.
Forgive yourself of mistakes, whether in the distant or recent past. Nowhere in scripture do we see God working in the past of the people’s lives. He works in their current circumstances and prepares for their futures. Keep in step with Him, remembering that what was left behind in some of the people’s lives in the Bible was not necessarily smelling any rosier than yours.
Forgive yourself of struggles no one else seems to understand. Psalm 147:5 GWT says that “Our Lord is great, and his power is great. There is no limit to His understanding.” He knows and understands everything about you, and loves you anyway. Rejoice that He’s brought you further than where you used to be. Stick with Him, and He will continue to help to get you to where you need to be.
So, whatever it is for you, forgive yourself, because self-forgiveness is something that has power to set you free of those fears that hold you hostage to hiding the truth of an imperfect life. Now, just so no one gets it twisted, self-forgiveness is not to be used to support conscious choices to conduct poor behaviors and attitudes. We are reminded that we aren’t to take God’s grace for granted, Romans 6:15 MSG says, “…does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly.” Instead, this is an invitation to stop living in the confines of your past, or of the current struggles that you are journeying to put right. Come out of hiding your truth. You’ve endured the pressures! You’ve developed into a glimmering gem, and now it’s time to come out of the sooty shadows. Allow the light Christ has given you to shine through by boasting in how He brought you out or is carrying you through. You can’t boast if you allow shame to dull your shine! Be a proud child of God, knowing He’s your strength in your weakness, and He will finish the good works He’s started in you. You’ve been chosen and called to be a shining diamond in His crown!
We are here to listen to you!
~~ When facing the need to forgive yourself, or others, what concerns come to mind, if any?
~~ If there were no difficulties, how have you been victorious in providing forgiveness?
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May The Lord shine upon your face, providing light and guidance enabling you to walk freely with your head up, as you continue to seek to know Him! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!