Will I Ever Be Able To Forgive Myself?
5So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world. 6Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language. 9Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
Colossians 3:5-9 NLT
Will I ever be able to forgive myself?
So often we know God’s promise of forgiveness AND that our family is forgiving us or has already forgiven us for our past failures and shenanigans. However, how many of you struggle with forgiving yourself? Forgiving yourself is a key step for you to mature as a believer. A Christian living with guilt and unforgiveness in their heart is NOT consistent with the spiritual maturity process. In fact, living with constant guilt and unforgiveness is totally out of character for a child of God.
In this passage Paul teaches us that there are certain things (and he mentions several by name) that we must put to death in our lives after we receive Christ. In v.5 we can see that his overall intent is that ALL sinful and earthly things in our lives must be put to death. Paul mentions some obvious examples, such as, sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. He even mentions greed as well, however, these few examples he mentions are not an exhaustive list of those things we must put to death in our lives.
The sinful and earthly ‘things’ Paul wrote of here are the things that separated you from God and kept you blinded to His love. Of those ‘things’ that infected our lives…that kept us from recognizing God’s love for us is the sin of unforgiveness. But just what is unforgiveness? Simply put, unforgiveness is the unwillingness to forgive others.
Unforgiveness in its most basic form is a form of pride within our hearts. We ‘cannot forgive’ because we cannot let go of whatever someone has done to us or whatever event that has affected us. Unforgiveness means that our hearts are closed off to the grace and mercy of God. When we say we cannot forgive ourselves, we figuratively place God underneath us. I know none of us would do this intentionally place ourselves over God, but when we are unwilling to forgive ourselves, we are telling God that His forgiveness means little to nothing in our heart.
We tend confuse forgiveness with acceptance. When we practice forgiveness with someone who has wronged us, we are not accepting that what they have done is ok or valid, but that we are willing to let it go. When we learn to truly forgive, what we are actually doing is learning to release any hold we may have on a situation or event. It does not mean we accept what they have done as ok or satisfactory, but just that we are not going to allow it to affect our relationship with them or come between us and God. Forgiveness is a total release of our feelings, our hurt, and our desire. Forgiveness for the believer reveals a trust in God’s nature and love.