I wonder how easy it is for most people to look at themselves and be happy with what they see. Many times looking in the mirror I see 2 things, I see a 16-year-old kid, who has no idea what he’s doing. I am supposed to be the husband and father and responsible for all this but I see myself as a 16-year-old boy who doesn’t have a clue. The other thing I see is a list of mistakes, choices, words said and actions done that had me traveling down less than glorious paths.
The older I’ve gotten the more I realized while yes, I have done and made some good choices, the last 20 years of my life as an adult has been more about very poor choices. Looking back I have lived a less than God honoring life. I have a lot of shame and guilt that weighs heavy on me for the choices I have made and know that even as I have professed to be a follower of Jesus, you wouldn’t know it looking at me.
I know that as a Christ-follower I can go to God confess what I did was wrong, ask for forgiveness and he will forgive and forgets them. He’s God he has that ability. I wish I had that ability because so much of what I have done in the past stays in my head roaming around. Each time I make a mistake I am reminded of how repenting from your sins means turning from them and not doing those things any longer and I obviously am not at that spot.
Being someone who has followed Jesus since I was about 7 years old, I guess you’d think I would be much more mature in my walk with him. In some areas I have come very far, however I would love to tell you it was this way in all areas of my life. Unfortunately selfishness and lack of self-control have seemed to get the better of me time and time again. You can’t really be a wise man if you don’t live that out in your daily activities.
Over the years people have told me “You need to learn to forgive yourself”. These were men, who were trying to offer some wise counsel. I have tried and tried to forgive myself but more times than not I just can’t seem to do this. It’s incredibly difficult. Knowing what I know about myself, with years of selfishness makes it hard to forgive myself. I started thinking about that concept – “forgiving yourself”. The more I have reflected on it, I almost feel like it’s another one of those nice packaged things we do in America to make us feel better about our sins. In James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I know that confessing our sins, admitting them and repenting from them is the right thing to do. How much of our sins do we really think about and weigh the heaviness of?
Maybe that’s what we don’t want; to be reminded of the weight of our sins and how that plays out in our lives and in the larger scheme of things – the world. Sin is powerful, the result of sin is why things are not right in the world and why there is pain and suffering. Perhaps we need to fully comprehend and understand the weight of all of it and not just tell each other to forgive ourselves. My sin weighs heavy on me and I don’t just forgive myself.
What are your thoughts on forgiving yourself?