Do you have past mistakes that haunt you? I’ll let you in on a little secret – most women do. We feel guilty that we spoke harshly to our children, lied to our best friend, had an abortion, cheated on our spouse, gossiped about a family member, stole somebody’s parking space, or let our anger get the better of us in some road rage.
Forgive yourself even when you have messed up BIG TIME!
The devil reminds us of our blunders to keep us chained to our past. We all make mistakes, and most of the errors we have made … if given a chance, we would do things differently. The devil keeps playing our past on repeat in our minds, over and over again. It keeps us from pursuing God and His will, plan, and purpose for our lives. We must break the chains of the past, move forward in God, and become who He created us to be.
We run to God with our remorse, pleading for forgiveness, promising to change our hearts and actions, and trust that our God’s forgiving arms will envelop us. Receiving God’s forgiveness is effortless. Forgiving others and ourselves is the challenging part. We must forgive others that have wronged us. Matthew quotes Jesus in saying, “if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Receiving our own forgiveness from God is contingent on us forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ! We don’t have the privilege of holding a grudge. Once we are extended, God’s forgiveness of our hearts can heal, and bitterness is prevented from taking root.
Forgiving yourself is sometimes the most challenging hurdle; it requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. Whether you’re trying to work through a minor mistake or one that impacts all areas of your life, the steps you need to take to forgive yourself will look and feel the same.
- Take Responsibility: Facing what you have done is the first and hardest step. Stop making excuses and rationalizing your actions. Just fess up!
- Take Action: You may need to make amends or apologize. That enormous weight that lifts off your shoulders is so liberating.
- Allow Yourself to Feel Remorse: When you’ve done something wrong, it’s normal to feel guilty about it. These feelings of guilt and remorse can help us to make a positive change.
- Renewal: Forgiving yourself often requires finding a way to learn from the experience and grow as a Christian. God can take us on a journey that reveals our heart’s motive. Understanding why we did something brings healing, and with recovery comes a change in our character that won’t allow us to make the same mistake.
Forgiving ourselves can be tricky because we get mad and disappointed in ourselves, but God knows and wants to extend forgiveness. If we ask God to forgive us, and God gives it – then who are we to hold ourselves in purgatory? Our opinion is not more important than God’s. The next time the devil starts playing that recording of that old sin in your mind telling you that you are not worthy – say to him; I forgave the girl I was then, and I’m not that same girl anymore!