Time to Clean Up!

Forgiveness is one of those Christian words that we all are used to hearing. Forgiving others for the wrongs they have done is difficult; the effects of not forgiving someone for their wrongs can have lifelong – even eternal – effects. Those of us who have been around a church or group of believers for any length of time have heard the “forgiveness message.” We’ve heard how important it is and have learned that we don’t always “feel” forgiveness; we’re making that forgiveness journey with others.

But what about forgiving ourselves?

Everyone comes to the Lord with his/her own set of baggage and little by little the Father begins working in our lives to relieve us from carrying that heavy load. He begins by offering His forgiveness to us. Then, He challenges us to forgive others. While that step of forgiving others might be difficult, for the most part, we eventually “get it” and begin the process of forgiving those who have wronged us.

But what about forgiving ourselves?

There’s a deep sense of shame that accompanies recognizing our sin. God has offered His forgiveness to us – which we accept but on the condition that we live in self-condemnation over the lives we lived outside of His grace. Somehow we feel obliged to live in shame and unforgiveness toward ourselves. This becomes a real bondage in our lives as we steel ourselves against actually receiving the forgiveness of God for how could He really forgive all the wrongs we have done? He must require us to live in the shadows of shame.

It’s a crushing feeling – to feel as if you aren’t good enough to be loved fully by the Father.

My youngest daughter is now experimenting with cooking (she made me a snack of chips, peas, raw onions, an apple, and sliced cheese). I have no problem with her making “snacks” within a few boundaries: don’t use knives and clean up after yourself. She obeys not using knives – but cleaning! Cleaning isn’t my little girl’s favorite thing to do. Her toys are regularly piled where they aren’t supposed to be. On occasion she will feel guilty for not cleaning and say, “I’m bad for not cleaning” and we have to chat about receiving forgiveness. I forgive her, she’s my child and my forgiveness of her not cleaning is ongoing for I know she will fail to clean properly for years to come. My goal is just to teach her and that’s what I tell her. Once she understands Mama is not angry, just teaching, she cheers up and even begins cleaning up her mess (until I’m not watching or something more interesting catches her attention).

Receiving forgiveness for the wrongs we have done and not holding them over our own heads is a huge step in going farther in our faith. If we don’t receive forgiveness and forgive ourselves, we live under the crushing weight of that sin. Thank God, Jesus has made a way for us!

 Luke 4:18 Aramaic translation “The Spirit of THE LORD JEHOVAH is upon me, and because of this he has anointed me to preach The Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal broken hearts and to proclaim liberty to captives, vision to the blind, and to restore the crushed with forgiveness.”

Don’t live one more day “crushed” under the weight and shame of sin. You’re loved, cherished and forgiven. It’s time to forgive yourself and allow the Father to love you – He’s not holding that mess you left behind against you. He wants to help you clean it up. Why not let Him?