“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” Catherine Ponder
Shirer brings attention to the faults we’ve done to ourselves and how we can’t get past those. Some people easily forgive others, but cannot seem to forgive themselves.
Ever been there? I have.
Six years ago, I found myself in a situation I never imagined I would be in. The yearning I had as a young single woman to be an “us” with someone was stronger than ever before. I didn’t know how to tame it, or rather, lock it up and throw away the key until the time was right. I dove head first into a relationship and lost a good friend in the aftermath. In my obsession of trying to forgive myself for letting things go too far on the one end, I was left unable to forgive anyone else that played a part in the mass of destruction of that situation. I couldn’t forgive myself. Period.
Can I let you in on a secret…one that I have to keep reminding myself of each day? The capacity to forgive yourself is personally impossible. I can’t do it. You can’t do it. Nobody can. But take a moment and breathe.
There isn’t a single place in Scripture that tells us that we are supposed to forgive ourselves.
We have no capability, much less responsibility, to forgive ourselves. Take a moment to read Romans 3:23-26.
The forgiveness of our sins is something that Christ suffered a terrifying death to give us. God chose to never recall our misdeeds again. He does not intent to punish us for them.
So why should you?
Think about it. When you say “I can’t forgive myself” means that you don’t fully believe that what He did was quite enough, that in some strange way His forgiveness of you is inadequate. This is the arrogant, hubristic tendency of fallen humanity, refusing to accept that His gift was and still is enough.
It is enough. More than enough.
And only through a gracious acceptance of the gift extended to you through Jesus will you ever really be free – free from the bondage, free from its hold, free to see that you Savior pressed the delete button for your sins when He…walked the road to Calvary…felt the crown of thorns pressed onto His head…took the beating…allows the sword’s piercing…flinched against the nails puncturing His hands and feet…when He hung on Golgotha’s tree.
In accepting this, you have forgiven yourself and you give God the right to forgive others through you.
Imagine purchasing a circus pony. The days of working the circuit are over. But the pony does nothing but wander in circles all day.
Choosing not to forgive someone is like that. The thing haunts you. Defines you. Restrains you. Controls you. It keeps you living life in the same pattern to which you had relegated yourself to for so long. You forget that there’s another way to live. This is the legacy of unforgiveness.
Choosing not to forgive is like choosing to let an open wound fester with infection and not doing a thing to let it heal. Many of us are guilty of letting unforgiveness eat us alive and are professionals at leaving the world around us none-the-wiser.
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too – Mark 11:25-26
Choosing forgiveness is a lot like pressing the delete key on our computers, backspacing over the accidents and unacceptable actions that have been written on the pages of our lives. Forgiveness means making the decision to incorporate the spoiled residue of the last ones. Pressing the delete key is a choice – a conclusive, one-time decision followed by an ongoing series of smaller yet equally important daily decisions to continue deleting, releasing the desire to hang on to what was done. – Priscilla Shirer
Not deleting it causes the occurrence to hang around and cause trouble.
I’m sure most of you have seen the film Hitch. In it, Will Smith’s character quotes the following:
Live is ten percent what happens to you; ninety percent is how you respond to that ten percent.
True. But how can you be set free? Three ways.
1: Refuse to hold that grudge. If a person has wronged you and you find it hard to forgive, release that person to God. Release all of it.
2: Leave room for God to act on your behalf. Some people will never admit to the wrongs they have committed. Refuse the urge to retaliate – let God deal with them in His timing.
3: Pray. To release others from the debt they owe requires supernatural resources. Pray for it. Pray for all of it. And God will respond.
How about you? Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from? Is there anyone you need to forgive?
Seek God out in this as you choose to live a life of someone who forgives and who has been forgiven.