Why I’ve Given Up On Forgiving Myself

 

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Whenever I read or hear someone saying, but you have to forgive yourself, I ask, why. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says forgive yourself.

We are told to forgive others but never ourselves. (Matthew 6:12b) Why? Because we are not God. We cannot judge ourselves. Only God knows the reasons or motives behind our actions.

God chooses not to remember our sins. He doesn’t forget them He just doesn’t want to remember them. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to do. Move on, get over it, quit rolling it around in our minds…just forget it. If we are dredging up the past in our thoughts, we are recommitting the sin. Yes, that is Biblical. Take a look at what God says about lusting in Matthew 5:28. Basically, even if you’re thinking it, you’re doing it. Look at Proverbs 4:23. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.

Another way to look at this concept is through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Do you believe that you are forgiven? Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross He took every one of our sins on Himself? Aren’t you basically saying His death doesn’t matter?

The evil one loves this thought pattern. When we minimize what Jesus did by saying I must forgive myself, satan has a door to enter our thoughts. The second we try to make forgiving about our own ability we have made ourselves God, or at least tried to.

Paul says in Romans 8:1, there is no more condemning for those who believe in Jesus. If you believe that is true, then there is no reason to be concerned with forgiving yourself. Jesus already did the hard work. We are cleansed, washed clean and totally forgiven because of His never-ending grace. We’ve got to get over this need to do it ourselves. He did it! Let that be it!

I must add, however, that we cannot assume that we can go on sinning. It should be our greatest desire never to sin again. Even though we have been ‘made new’ we are probably going to fall into the sin pit again. The Bible is quite clear on the process at that point… Ask for forgiveness from the One and Only… Accept His loving response (Go and sin no more-John 4:1-42)…Do not return to that sin in thought, word or deed… Move on, walk away, give it up…

Heavenly Father, it is my greatest desire not to sin against You in thought, word, or deed. Yet I do. Forgive my bent to thoughts, words, and actions that do not reflect You to the world around me. Help me to listen for the ‘voice’ of the Spirt in everything I think, do, and say. Teach me Your word so that I will know what You want. Make it so in Jesus name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I have been greatly honored to write this article for Blogs for Christian Women.  Click on the highlighted words and see what others are writing about it.

 

God’s To-Do List

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What if God kept a list?  A ‘to-do’ list of sorts?  I’m sure if He did he would have every name of every person that has ever been.  Let’s clear this up.  God does NOT keep a list.  Both the Old and New Testament attest to that.

“But I, yes I, am the one
    who takes care of your sins—that’s what I do.
    I don’t keep a list of your sins.”   Isaiah 43:25

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.     1 Corinthians 13:5-7 

But what if He did keep a list?  Might it look like this?

Adam     Loved & Forgiven

Eve     Loved & Forgiven

Jael     Loved & Forgiven (Judges 4:21)

David     Loved & Forgiven

Daniel     Loved & Forgiven

The Disciples of Jesus     Loved & Forgiven

The Woman at the Well     Loved & Forgiven

Everyone     Loved

All Believers     Loved & Forgiven

Did you catch that?  Everyone is loved by God.  His heart is broken by those who refuse to believe.  Those who will not recognize they are sinners…  Those who simply say there is no God…   Those who say I am more important, intelligent, talented…than the Great I AM…

Even though God does not keep lists, He loves and wants to forgive every person.  He will!  All we need to do is ask.

Abba, Father, give me a heart to reach out to those who do not know You.  Grant me the ability to know when I should share Your love and what I should share of Your Message.  Let me love like You and forgive with total forgetfulness.  Make it so in the Precious Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

Happy Birthday, America!

220px-Spirit_of_'76“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

26 of the original signers of the Constitution were ordained ministers and it is likely the rest were Believers in Christ.  They all took an oath to the effect that if they did not uphold the document they were signing into law they would be hanged.  Words in this document attest to the Creator who gave man life and “certain unalienable rights”.   They would have rather died than be at the mercy of a government that did not have their best interests at heart!

For many, prayer in any place but the privacy of home or church, is not allowed.  That was not the intent of the founding fathers.  Part of the reason for the Revolutionary War, in addition to the taxation issue, was that England wanted the colonists to recognize the Church of England as the only Church of America.  Prayer, worship, and the Bible were a huge part of the Revolutionary American’s life.  The Founding Fathers would have rather been hanged than deny their oath…   Our current government would like us to believe that prayer is not acceptable in public…pretty much not at all, anywhere.  Yet belief in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the desire to respect and glorify Him in this new country is very evident in the first prayer uttered at the first meeting of Congress.

September 7th, 1774
Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, High and mighty King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments:

Look down in mercy we beseech Thee, on these American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of oppression, and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring henceforth to be dependent only on Thee, they have appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support which Thou alone canst give; take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their cause; and if they persist in their sanguinary purpose, O, Let the voice of Thy own enerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle! 

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; the order, harmony and peace may be effectively restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety prevail and flourish among Thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them, and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seeth expedient for them in this world, and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of JESUS CHRIST, THY SON, OUR SAVIOR.

AMEN

-Rev. Jacob Duché

Dear, dear friends, pray for this country, it’s people and it’s leaders.  God clearly said, “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

This should be our humble and fervent prayer...IF MY PEOPLE…

Heavenly Father, 237 years later, we are still oppressed by our government, yet You have said if we will pray, You will heal our land.  Well right now I’m asking that You hear that prayer from me.  Forgive us, give us strength and courage to stand as Daniel did against a modern Babylon.  Help us all seek your face and forgiveness.  Give us strength and courage to stand for YOU!  I lift this prayer in Jesus’ most Holy and Precious Name.  Make it so!!!

Always Forgiven!

ResurrectionWE CANNOT OUT-SIN HIS FORGIVENESS!!!!

For Heaven’s sake don’t even think that I would ever suggest even trying.  One of the ways we get ever closer to Jesus likeness is our whole-hearted desire not to sin.  But we are human and we are sinful and that’s something we simply can’t ignore!

In Psalm 103:2-3 David tells us that we are not to forget His benefits and one of these is the forgiveness of sin.  For me, David’s words speak mountains of truth about forgiveness.  His story helps us understand that even the one (David) who had a Heart like His could and would sin!  David depended on God’s forgiveness, asked for it and it was given. Fully!

God is the God of the second, third, forth….chance.  Take a look at Jonah 1:1-3.  God told him to go to Ninevah and preach against its wickedness.  Jonah tried to run away and had the adventure and epiphiny of his life.  (Yes, my God is the Only One who could keep a man alive in the ‘belly of a whale’!)  Jonah 3:1 says the LORD spoke to him a second time and said go to Ninevah and proclaim the wickedness of the Ninevites.  Jonah obeyed!  God will forgive our disobedience but does expect to eventually obey.

Jesus tells us clearly in Matthew 6:14-15 that we must forgive others when they sin against us.  If we don’t the consequence is to big to imagine…the Father will not forgive us.  We are to be the picture of God to those around us.  If there is no way to out-sin God’s forgiveness then there is no sin of another that we can’t forgive.

Mighty, Awesome, Forgiving LORD!  Forgive my sins, the ones I know and the ones I don’t.  Give me Your super-natural ability to forgive those who have and will sin against me in some way.  Nurture in me a heart of forgiveness!  Make it so!!!

Words

Open Mouth

Have you have gotten caught up in the moment and said something you wish you hadn’t?  Are there times when you wish someone would put a bridle on your mouth and completely control your words?  Are there times when you wish you could sleep all day, hide, play computer games that take over your mind…? Then, guess what, that makes us all normal and still forgivable and lovable.  The real question is…How do we overcome these times?

First, we must realize we are as much an at fault sinner as the one we directed our words toward.  God knows that!  He knew when He breathed the Word.  The Bible is full of admonitions, both Old and New Testament, to guard our words.

Second, we must ask for forgiveness and then follow through with a change of heart.  I can get on my knees 50 times a day, some days 500, and ask for forgiveness but unless I decide, with God’s help, to change, the words are empty.

Then, and the hardest of all, is to ask for forgiveness from the one who has been harmed by the words.  Unlike God, they may choose to be unforgiving.  If that happens give it back to God and continue mending the relationship.

There is a delightful children’s song that says: Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.  Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love.  Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.

Psalm 19:14  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.

Heavenly Father, creator of all words and languages, Lord of my life, forgive me for words hastily spoken.  Control my words (and thoughts) toward or about others.  Let my life be acceptable to You.  Make it so!

Matthew 6:9-13

New International Version (NIV)

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Tes...

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Most likely originated in Egypt.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

For yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. 

I do wonder why that last line is so often left out.  It’s definitely the perfect closing and every 2nd grader who has learned to write a letter has learned it must have a greeting, a body, and a closing.  Ah, well, I digress…..

How often have you said these Words in worship or prayer or song and that’s just what they are..words?  We’re going to take a couple of minutes and just look at a couple of hidden gems in this beautiful prayer.

 Jesus did not say ‘Every time you pray you MUST use these words.  He said, “This, then, is how you should pray:” meaning this is a template, blueprint, or even an outline of how to do it.  We are first, to recognize God for who He is and what He does.  Next, we are to ask for what we need…food, forgiveness and freedom (from evil).  Lastly, we are to once again give God all glory and honor for who He is.

Notice, in verse 11, He tells us to ask for our DAILY bread.  Look a little closer.  If we reverse the two words they become…bread DAILY.  I don’t think this is a mistake, nor would it be out of line to look at the words in this way.  God wants us to ‘pray without ceasing’, asking Him, talking to Him, giving Him credit every hour of every day, day after day.

Let’s take a look at verse 12.  The word debts can be transliterated sins.  Let’s think this through.  Here’s another verse that when reversed adds  more understanding.  What if we say it like this.  “As (in the same way) I forgive others, Father, forgive me.”  Can you imagine the change in our hearts if we thought about that when we say forgive me.  I don’t want to forgive the cruelty shown me by a church leader, but I expect You to forgive me anyway.  I’m not going to forgive the abuses of my childhood, but I expect You to forgive me anything.  I know in my heart that God has forgiven me completely but His expectation is that I will forgive all the hurts, wrongs, stabs in the back…just like He does. 

In the verses following this prayer I’ll paraphrase what He is saying:  Those who forgive will be forgiven by Me.  Those who don’t, won’t.  Those are pretty powerful words for those of us who believe.  Jesus was making a point that He wouldn’t have had to make if we were to remember what He said about forgiving…basically- JUST DO IT!  It will be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but, I really don’t want to have to stand before a disappointed Father and explain why I chose not to forgive.  Not gonna happen.

Heavenly Father, Savior, Forgiver of my sins, teach me to forgive and not hold grudges.  Help me to let go of things others have said and done and let You handle the situation.  When I am asked to forgive just let me do it.  Let my life be an example of forgiveness for those around me.  Teach me Your ways, Lord.  Make it so!

Home Again

Ruth 1:20-21I find it interesting when times or things get tough we want to blame it on anything or anyone around us.  This very human characteristic serves the purpose of trying to make sense of the situation by transferring the issue to another person or thing.  Naomi was so very human.  As she tried to sort out her grief she placed the blame on God by pointing her finger and saying ‘He did it’.  The NIV in verse 21b says this very thing…‘He afflicted me and He brought misfortune on me’. Then she does the very thing she needs to do.  She goes to the comfort of home.
Going home is used many times in God’s Word.  The Israelites wondered in the desert for years before returning to the home God had given them…the release of the Hebrew exiles from Babylon to return home…the prodigal…the hope of heaven…Any time a traumatic event happens to us we go through several stages.  Numbness, grief or sadness, blaming, sanctuary, and rebuilding.  In my recent time of healing, as Ray recovered from a Traumatic Brain Injury, and I tried to make sense of it, returning home each night to known comfort was necessary.  As we continue through the rebuilding we continue returning to home as our sanctuary.  Just like Naomi I returned home, whether it was my physical abode or those comforting arms of God, over and over again.  Above all I have learned, once again, to “Be still and know God”.  He alone has comforted, guided, provided, and healed.  He is my Jehovah Jirah, my Provider.
Jehovah Jirah, you have given me so much, you are there when I need anything.  All praise, honor, and glory is Your due.  You have created this beautiful summer morning just for me.  I can only say thank You!  What a Mighty God we serve.

Forgiving Others

Asking For Forgiveness
Do we have the right to be unforgiving?  Can we pick and choose who to forgive based on their perceived or actual offense?  The obvious answer for the believer is no, yet isn’t that what we do? Jesus had an answer for these questions.  He placed it at the end of what we call The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  He very clearly says you will be forgiven by the Father if you forgive those who sin against you.  He adds you will not be forgiven by the Father if you refuse to forgive others.  So in the very words of Jesus we have no choice if we want to be forgiven by the Father.  (Well actually, we have a choice but if we want the ultimate reward of forgiveness…)

In the story of Ruth we discover that when she returned from Moab she was once again received as a member of the community.  Isn’t that interesting since God had  commanded the Israelites to have nothing to do with the Moabites (Deut. 23:3-6).  There is certainly a hidden story of forgiveness here.  Ruth and Naomi could have been rejected, ostracized, and asked to leave the community, but that didn’t happen.  Instead, a leading member of the community (Bethlehem) married Ruth (the Moabitess) and from that union came Salmon who fathered Jesse who fathered David…Even though God had clearly defined the rules for inhabiting with or aiding the Moabites He chose an obvious rule breaker (Boaz) to continue the family line toward Jesus.   He already knew Jesus’ purpose (to seek and save the lost) and planted both the lost and the Redeemed (His chosen people, Israel)  in it.

He Is Head Over Heals In Love With Us

I’ve recently been giving a lot of thought to God’s love for us.  It must be something He wants me to do because I’ve seen books, reading articles, and listening to other Christians expound on the subject.  Why do I (we) think He can’t possibly mean me (us), even though He assures me (us) repeatedly in His Word.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that we are created in His image.  Men and women look like God.  Think about it.  Don’t we all sometimes want to look like someone else?  Well, how about God.  Rather than comparing ourselves to others how about comparing ourselves to the One who loved us so much He gave His Son for us.

In Psalms 139:14 the writer is giving praise because he is aware of God’s love through being ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.  He is in awe of the One who cares more about our well-being than anything else.God protects and sustains us from the time we are born until we have many gray hairs.  It’s truly something He wants to do. Don’t we want to protect and sustain those we love?  Of course we do.  It’s God’s love for us showing through us. (Isaiah 46:4)

Siescape-fetus

Siescape-fetus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s look at the book of Hosea.  The cycle is repeated over and over.  Hosea marries Gomer, they have a child, she cheats on him and has two more, he continues to forgive her and take her back.  So like God’s love for us; we sin, He saves us, we sin, He forgives, and the cycle goes on and on and on…

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...

The Painting entitled “Jesus Blessing the Children” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John 1:12 says when we receive Him, believe in Him, and trust Him because of His name He makes us His children.  Don’t we make the choice from the moment of conception to love our children even when they are sometimes unlovable?  God does too.We are God’s chosen and dearly loved.  Like all who love others He has expectations for us.  We are to show compassion, kindness, and forgiveness (see Colossians 3:12-14 for the list).  Over all we are to wear a cloak of love.  A Japanese translation says it like this, “Love binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
He wants to love us.  Let Him!
Ah, Lord God, my King, my Shelter, my One and Only I do not deserve to be loved by You, yet You do!  You see my insides and my ‘out-sides’, You know my strongholds, my sins, my every part, yet You still love me.  Oh, Lord, help me to be loving to others, help me to love like You do, with compassion, kindness, and without thought to what it will ‘cost’ me.  What a Mighty God You are.     Make it so!