Offering forgiveness to others is one of the most difficult and important aspects of the Christian life. The Bible clearly commands us to forgive others. God longs to fashion us into his likeness that we might model the love we’ve been shown to a world with no concept of mercy. He longs for us to offer grace and forgiveness to the undeserving as we have been offered grace and forgiveness when we were undeserving. May you be filled with courage and boldness to offer forgiveness to those in desperate need of grace. And may God’s love shine through as you enter into your calling as a minister of reconciliation.
Scripture:“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
As Christians striving to love others well and live in obedience to the commands of Christ, we often are harder on ourselves than our heavenly Father is. If we are ever going to experience the depths of God’s love in every season, we must learn to forgive ourselves. In Brennan Manning’s book, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, he writes a powerful statement that has the ability to both guide us to a greater lifestyle of peace and open the door of our hearts to greater affections from our heavenly Father:
But we cannot assume that He feels about us the way we feel about ourselves—unless we love ourselves compassionately, intensely, and freely. In human form Jesus revealed to us what God is like. He exposed our projections for the idolatry that they are and gave us the way to become free of them. It takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are—not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them. Though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold his love because there is evil in us.
Our Father loves us unconditionally. His grace and mercy will never run out. He is never surprised when we sin or fall short of the life to which we’ve been called because he knows our need of him. He knows that without his help we will never succeed in living a lifestyle of obedience. He knows that without consistent encounters with his love we will never be able to fully love others. And he knows that without being consistently filled with the Holy Spirit we will never be empowered to live in the freedom from sin Christ’s death affords us.
1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” God does not condone our sin. He does not enjoy our mistakes. But he will meet us in our place of brokenness and need every time we fail. He will offer us mercy and compassion every time we come to him in confession and repentance. And nothing could ever cause him to stop loving us for even a moment.
Your heavenly Father is beckoning you to forgive yourself today. He’s waiting to fill you with his mercy and grace to overflowing. He’s ready to lead you into a lifestyle of loving yourself as he has loved you. Run out to meet him today. Allow him to clothe you with love, honor, and grace. Allow him to show you the depths of his compassion for you. And live today in light of the glorious grace of Jesus.
1. Meditate on the importance of forgiving yourself. Allow Scripture to give you God’s perspective of grace and mercy.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:21
2. Where do you need to forgive yourself today? What mistake or failure are you carrying around like a weight? Where are you not offering yourself the grace and mercy offered by your heavenly Father?
3. Ask God to share with you his perspective. Ask him to help you see yourself as he sees you. Spend time resting in his love and compassion and being filled with his affections to overflowing.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
Often we carry the weight of our mistakes because we are unwilling to ask forgiveness from others. Confessing and repenting to those we’ve wronged is a vital part of the Christian life. Admitting our weaknesses and faults to others helps remove us from the pursuit of perfection and guide us to a life of surrender and humility. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness from anyone you’ve wronged. And allow the forgiveness of your heavenly Father to fill you with joy, love, and freedom where only sin and shame abounded before.
Extended Reading: Romans 8
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