WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this Forgiving Yourself Bible study on ways to forgive yourself. We'll be looking into that and all aspects of the Christian Walk. This SON-derful study brings forth understanding and peace within.
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Welcome to our Cool Confidential Christian Counseling study program. This is our Forgiving Yourself Bible study on ways to forgive yourself in the Bible story and how it affects your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.
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STEPPING STONE #4
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Welcome back to ...
I waited patiently for the LORD;
and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
I trust that
you're waiting patiently to move on to the next step each day.
Your patience in following THE PATH one step each day, will pay off.
WELCOME BACK MY FRIEND ...
and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's
friend by hearty counsel.
It is great to have you
back on THE PATH. In order to lay down our next STEPPING STONE,
we are going to have to get a little dirt on our hands today. The weeds in this area
of your garden have are very deep rooted, so it is going to take a
little extra effort on your part. These weeds have been there for a very long time, so
you will have to dig deep as to remove them, but once they are gone,
you are definitely going to sense the enLIGHTening difference.
If you ever feel the
need to take a step back to the previous STEPPING STONE to remove a
weed that has sprung up near it, by all means do so. You donít have
to count that as one of your 14 days, it is maintenance, like we
discussed at THE GARDEN GATE.
As you recall,
yesterday we learned of
GOD'S GRACE and how forgiving our
Today, as you stand on
the third STEPPING STONE in your garden, weíre going to talk about
forgiving yourself and share with you some ways to forgive yourself.
I realize we haven't
talked about your specific problem yet, but we will soon. Think of
it this way ... If you step on a bunch of little weeds to get to a
big one, you'll break them off at the stem and when you go back to
clear them out, you may not know the roots are still underground.
Have you ever noticed
that sometimes a big weed is easier to pull than the little ones,
and there is usually a whole lot of little weeds, but only a few big
ones? Our spiritual garden is the same way. If we get rid of all the little weeds first, you'll find that
the big ones are really easy to get rid of, so don't underestimate
the importance of each step, even though they may seem
insignificant, but in time they will be making a huge difference within you.
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Hmmmmm, thatís a tough
one, isnít it? Most of the time, this is our biggest problem. As
Christians, we know and understand that God forgives us, and we
donít (usually) have a problem forgiving others ... But, ourselves we
just canít seem to get the hang of it, now can we?
I have another TRUTH to
share with you. Way down deep inside many of us, thereís a twisted
misconception that if we hold on to feelings of guilt, it somehow
justifies us in Godís eyes. This is totally the opposite of what
your Father wants for you. He didnít sacrifice His precious Son so
that we would harbor feelings of guilt. He did it so that your mind
and heart would be TOTALLY FREE of that.
Guilt is a bad seed. As
long as itís buried down deep, it WILL grow. Unattended, it will
become a big problem in your garden, because it will bloom and go to
seed, and soon youíll have a whole bunch of little problems that
grow into big problems and it just keeps getting worse.
Once God forgives you,
He doesnít remember it as we discussed in the King David story. You
are cleansed of it. Pure as a little baby. And thatís how your
Father sees you ...
As His CHILD
Look at this from Godís
point of view. Letís say youíre a loving parent, whose child has
done something wrong. You may chasten the child, or some other
circumstances may arise that bring him to repentance. Your precious
child comes to you to confess, and asks forgiveness. Then you
forgive him lovingly, and all is well. Later on, youíre walking past
the closed door of your childís room and you hear your little child
crying and rapping his head on the wall, because he STILL feels
badly for what heís done.
How would that make you
feel? Maybe it would make you feel like he doubts your forgiveness.
It would make us want to console the child and make them HEAR and
UNDERSTAND that we truly DO forgive them.
But ... What if they ran away?
What if they did not BELIEVE that they were forgiven
or did not forgive themselves? That is what we do when we do not
forgive ourselves when God has forgiven us. Now, knowing that you
are Godís child, how can you serve the Lord effectively and
efficiently, as long as you carry guilt inside of you?
FORGIVING YOURSELF IS ESSENTIAL
THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
As adult Christians, we understand that God forgives
us, so the bad feelings of guilt that we store up inside are in
TRUTH, self pity. Youíre wasting your time feeling guilty. Youíre
wasting precious time that you could be using toward Godís plans for
your life. Lose the guilt, and get on with the God business. Put on
your garden gloves, get a good hold on that weed, and eliminate it
from your life once and forever.
IT IS A LIE
Replace it with this Step Four seed of TRUTH by
BELIEVING this TRUTH.
When you ask our loving,
merciful Father to forgive you for a sin in the name of Jesus ...
That sin is as far away as the
East is from the West ...
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy
toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a
father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear
since God has chosen to forgive you, please choose to do so as well.
We are harder on ourselves than our Father ever was, is or will be.
Check out the song called "What Sin" by Morgan Cryar on
C-O-O-L CD Player on the Contemporary Music Player.
Once sin is removed ... It is gone.
God did the job.
You donít have to go and clean up after Him.
At the risk of being
repetitive, let me just say once again ...
REMEMBER ... LET GO AND LET
LET GO (of your problem), AND LET GOD (remove it)!
FORGIVING YOURSELF THROUGH GRACE
GOD PROVIDES WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Weíre going on a FIELD TRIP now. The first one is a lesson about forgiveness. Weíve
talked about Godís forgiveness ... that lovely blessing called Grace,
and weíve talked about forgiving yourself. This FIELD TRIP on
forgiveness is about forgiving others for we must forgive all ... To
LET US TAKE A FIELD TRIP TO FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness has different meanings for different people depending on what's being
"forgiven". Actually, most believe there are various levels
of forgiveness. Oft times, it depends on who is being forgiven. The question is, what would Jesus
consider as being forgiveness? While you let that question simmer in your
mind for a bit, let us look at what Jesus said about it.
If your brother sins against you, go and talk to him about it
alone, and if he will hear you (make peace), you've gained
the book of James we get a clear picture of what happens when you
gain your brother.
Brothers, if any of you sin, and someone brings him to
repentance, let him know that the person who converts the sinner
from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will hide
a multitude of sins.
What a wonderful
But, Jesus said, If
your brother won't make peace with you, then take one or two people
with you to witness and reason with him.
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or
for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two
witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be
1 Timothy 5:19
elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell
it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let
him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say
unto you, Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree
on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst
thing brought up a question in Peter's mind and he asked Jesus ...
Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother if he sins against
me? Seven times? Jesus answered him, Not only seven times, but ...
SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN.
Let's do a little
digging and find out who we really are today, shall we? Remember
when we said that the meaning of forgiveness differs from person to
person and circumstance to circumstance? Well, the reason we seem to
have given the act of forgiveness different levels, is so that we
we've forgiven, without really finishing the job. We feel like as long
as we've achieved or performed any given level of forgiveness, we
can take credit for the total act of this very important virtue.
We're gonna take a look
at the different levels that we've divided forgiveness up into and
you can decide for yourself, which level(s) you've chosen to grant
to the people in your life. Some of these may sound the same to you,
but many people don't like to admit to something (even to
themselves) unless every word in the description are the very words
they would use. These aren't in any order of importance.
- You cease to feel resentment
against an offender, but you really don't trust them anymore
whether you should or should not in some cases, causing you not
to be able to trust others for this particular offense caused by
- You can forgive but you can't
forget. You store a record of the offence in the back of your
mind just in case you need to bring it up at a later date for
- You claim to forgive, but your
relationship has never been quite the same with the person ... and
never will be. You tolerate the offender as much and as you can
bear to, because Jesus said to forgive. Sometimes you rarely
speak, if ever again, and the relationship virtually ends after
the so-called forgiveness.
- You excuse the offense, but you
ridicule, deride, mock, taunt or rally the offender, sometimes
in anger and other times in humor.
- You forgive outwardly for
appearances, but inside you just can't seem to forgive.
- Some things you forgive, some
things ya don't, it's complicated y'know.
- You pardon someone totally and
unconditionally. You continue to love the person who sinned
against you, just as you did before the offense. It's as though
it never even happened. Recollections of the offense are not
used for any reason. You don't forget
that you're a sinner yourself and mercy and grace are the
greatest gift that God has given you through Jesus Christ.
Maybe the level of
forgiveness that you use isnít included here. If itís not, go ahead
and add them in, because there are bound to be millions of
conditions and levels that fall in between these categories, or have
additional little addendums. Itís okay, weíre all guilty of it.
Ah, hereís one I
- As long as youíre in a good mood,
your forgiveness abounds, but wake up on the wrong side of the
bed, and anyone who has ever sinned against you is a scoundrel
until your mood changes.
Now, let's look at the
word forgive. The prefix
for means before and the word give,
in this case, means commit. So, perhaps to forgive ...
to really forgive is to think
of things as they were before the offense was
committed. You may say, That's a tough thing to do, until you
think about it this way: Have you ever done
anything that you wish you had never done? Is there something
that if you could, you would totally erase it from your life, that
it would be forgotten totally from anyone's memory who knows about
it? It won't happen unless you forgive others the same way.
For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye
mete, it shall be measured to you again.
FORGIVING YOURSELF AND ALL OTHERS
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF BY FORGIVING OTHERS
Now, that the tables have been turned, and your own forgiveness of others is involved ... You
can probably relate a lil better to the phrase "forgive and forget". It's hard on both the
offender and the victim of a sin, when forgiveness is not granted.
For the offender, they feel untrusted and ashamed. It can weaken a
person's soul to live with knowing that they're not forgiven for
something that they're so sorry for.
It's as if there's an
invisible net around them that they can't escape. To repent for
something we've done, and not to be forgiven, is an experience that
God didn't want us to bear, and that's the whole reason why we have
the New Testament, and why Jesus died for us. It's a shame that
we've defiled this beautiful gift of grace by putting it into
levels. Forgive others the way you want to be
forgiven by God for things that you've done.
What about if youíre
the victim of a sin? Letís say someone has committed a sin against
you and you donít forgive them. How can being unforgiving hurt you?
It's in your subconscious mind if you haven't completely forgiven
someone for something. Your mind knows what level you've assigned to
each act of forgiveness you've granted. You don't think about it all
the time, but the knowledge of it is there. This can cause
bitterness in your spirit that can affect other parts of your life.
Your faith will feel like it's tainted with guilt.
That's because you're
being measured by God with the same
forgiveness scale that you're using. Your lack of trust in
your offender can cause you to be untrusting of others as well. If
your offender is a loved one, you can become blameful of them for
unrelated things that happen in your life. When we are hurt very deeply, we sometimes fail to forgive and rebuild
the trust with our family or friends that hurt us.
Now, obviously this does not mean that you MUST trust ALL of those
who have hurt you, in particular when terrible crimes were committed
and allow what occurred to happen again ... God forbid. It means
that you should not let the lack of trust in them, establish a habit
within you and have you walk in fear, unable to trust anyone else.
In a perfect world, when we forgive someone, it would really truly
be as if the offense never happened. We would be able to love,
communicate, befriend, trust, and continue in our relationships with
one another as if the offense was erased from time. My friend, that
is the description of how it is in heaven and this earth is not a
perfect world. Where we fear continued abuse from an offender, we
must forgive the best way we know how. If you are facing
circumstances that require forgiveness that risks your physical or
psychological safety, prayer is essential. Ask Jesus how to
completely forgive and release someone from offenses where
communication seems impossible afterward.
FORGIVING YOURSELF WARNING
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF ARE AVAILABLE - CHOOSE THEM.
The point is ... Being
unforgiving can cause a chain of circumstances that prevent you from
being fruitful for God. Until you completely release your offender
from his sin, you'll remain in the same net that you've put that
We've done a pretty
thorough job of putting forgiveness into levels, now let's look at
the levels that we've put sin into. What about people? Do you find
it easier to forgive a loved one than an acquaintance or a stranger
for the same offense? Are there sins that we simply find
unforgivable and others that we have no problem whatsoever
forgetting? To that, I have to ask you, are there some sins that
youíve committed that you think God should hold you accountable for,
or do you want Him to forgive all of your sins?
Jesus addressed this
And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have
so your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you
don't forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you.
Did you catch that? If
you have anything
against any. Forgive all or you won't be
forgiven. Sorry, there are no levels for all. All means all. It
doesn't limit the number(s) or the intensity of the sin(s), or even
how long ago they happened, it's infinite.
Our report card on our
forgiveness performance will be administered to us on judgment day
and we'll be remembered in Godís eyes exactly the way we remembered
(or forgave) others. We're gonna conclude this study with a parable
that Jesus told Peter.
Therefore is the kingdom of
heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of
his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought
unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as
he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his
wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying,
Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the
lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him,
and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and
found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred
pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat,
saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down
at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me,
and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him
into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his
fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came
and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after
that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I
forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest
not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as
I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to
the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So
likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from
your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Okay, back to the beginning. Remember the question
we began with? What would Jesus consider forgiveness? My friend, the
answer is this: He's gonna use the definition you choose . . . on
you! With that in mind, you may want to consider how generous you
are with the gift of forgiveness that you grant to others ... and to
It's never too late to forgive. There may be
something that happened years ago, maybe even in your childhood that
you haven't completely forgiven someone for. You can change that.
You can free yourself and other people to be more fruitful for God
if you do. If someone hasn't forgiven you for something, perhaps
you'd like to ask them to forgive you. You're not only seeking for
peace for your own soul, but you're also giving them a chance to
escape that invisible net that they've unknowingly put themselves in
God's Grace is above all, the most precious gift we
have. Extend your own mercy and Grace to others. Every day is a new
beginning, every moment, a fresh start. Clean your slate and give
others a chance to clean theirs too.
remember to apply this to forgiving yourself too?
these songs on the C-O-O-L CD Player:
Seventy Times Seven
When God Ran
LET GO AND LET
LET GO (of
your problem), AND LET GOD (remove it)!
We all make mistakes. We
fall. Sin gets in our way. Temptation surrounds us and we
don't always resist. But that is exactly why God
sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins,
and to give us the FREE gift of GRACE! He wants you to ask
forgiveness and keep fighting the good fight of faith. When
you find yourself struggling with feelings of failure,
unworthiness, fear, weakness or shame, just remember that
God loves you so very much and He
wants you to get back up when you stumble. PERSEVERE! NEVER
GIVE UP! If you have a bad day, this study will help you
understand more about the liberating GRACE that our Father
wants each and every one of us to enjoy.
STEPPING STONE FOUR
Take some time between now and tomorrow when you return to THE
PATH, to reflect on some things that you havenít forgiven
yourself for and release them into Godís hands. Stop banging
your head against the wall, come out of your room, and get on
with the freedom that God intended for you to have. While youíre
at it, if thereís someone who you need to forgive, or you want
forgiveness from ... you know what to do.
Whew, look at
that bushel of weeds you pulled! Throw íem out with the trash.
Youíve worked hard today, and youíve earned your fourth STEPPING
STONE, so give yourself a pat on the back ...
Continuing in EACH step daily is so very important.
you like ...
may go back over each completed step as often as you like as
to be sure you have not missed anything.
MAKE SURE YOU JOT DOWN A LIL SOMETHING IN YOUR
YOU HAVE COMPLETED STEP FOUR
WAYS TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
Tomorrow, return to the Forum page of this program:
And we will proceed to ...
STEPPING STONE #5
And I will meet you there!
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