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Step #4

Christian Sin and Christian Mistakes

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Welcome to our deLIGHTful and absolutely awesome Christianity Oasis Christian Sin and Christian Mistakes Christian Teen Counseling Services. We also have a separate free Counseling program for adults available. The messages of truth within this absolutely awesome Christian Sin teen counseling services will bring a smile to your lips and heart while bringing the LIGHT of Truth to your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk path.

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Welcome Back to the Path
Forgive Yourself

Stepping Stone #4

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Psalms 40:1

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.

Proverbs 27:9

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

It's great to have you back on The Path. In order to lay down the next Stepping Stone, we're going to get a little dirt on our hands. The weeds in this area of your garden have some deep seated roots, so it's going to take a little effort. These weeds have been there for a long time, so you'll have to dig deep to remove them, but once they're gone, you're going to feel the 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 don't 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 Father is.

Today, as you stand on the third Stepping Stone in your garden, we're going to talk about forgiving 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.

Forgiving Yourself

Hmmmmm, that's a tough one, isn't it? Most of the time, this is our biggest problem. As Christians, we know and understand that God forgives us, and we don't (usually) have a problem forgiving others ... But, ourselves we just can't 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, there's a twisted misconception that if we hold on to feelings of guilt, it somehow justifies us in God's eyes. This is totally the opposite of what your Father wants for you. He didn't 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 it's 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 you'll have a whole bunch of little problems that grow into big problems and it just keeps getting worse.

Once God forgives you, He doesn't remember it as we discussed in the King David story. You are cleansed of it. Pure as a little baby. And that's how your Father sees you ... As His child!

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Look at this from God's point of view. Let's say you're 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, you're walking past the closed door of your child's room and you hear your little child crying and rapping his head on the wall, because he still feels badly for what he's 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 God's child, how can you serve the Lord effectively and efficiently, as long as you carry guilt inside of you?

Ways to Forgive Yourself Today

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. You're wasting your time feeling guilty. You're wasting precious time that you could be using toward God's 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:

Psalms 103:11-13

11 For as the Heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.

So 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.

(If you have the inclination to "Google it," there is a great Christian song called "What Sin" by Morgan Cryar that would truly enhance your understanding of of God's Grace and mercy. You won't be disappointed.)

Once sin is removed ... It is gone. God did the job. You don't have to go and clean up after Him.

At the risk of being repetitive, let me just say once again ...

Let Go and Let God!

Let Go (of your problem), And Let God (remove it)!

Prepare to see this reminder quite often.

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We're going on a Field Trip now. The first one is a lesson about forgiveness. We've talked about God's forgiveness ... That lovely blessing called Grace, and we've talked about forgiving yourself. This Field Trip on forgiveness is about forgiving others for we must forgive all ... To be forgiven.

Field Trip to Forgiveness

Forgiveness . . . Has different meanings for different people and sometimes different meanings for the same people, depending on what's being "forgiven." Actually, the meanings are very similar, but the levels of forgiveness are different. The question is, What would Jesus consider forgiveness? While you let that question simmer in your mind, let's look at what He said about it.

Matthew 18:15

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee [make peace], thou hast gained thy brother.

In the book of James we get a clear picture of what happens when you gain your brother.

James 5:20

Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

What a wonderful reward!

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.

Deuteronomy 19:15

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 established.

1 Timothy 5:19

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Matthew 18:17-20

17 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.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 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.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

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This whole 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 can say 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 one soul.
  • You can forgive but you can't forget. You store a record of the offense in the back of your mind just in case you need to bring it up at a later date for any reason.
  • 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 you don't, it's complicated you know.

and finally

  • 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 practice isn't included here. If it's 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. It's okay, we're all guilty of it.

Ah, here's one I forgot:

  • As long as you're 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.

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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.

Jesus said:

Matthew 7:2

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Now that you turn things around, and your own forgiveness of others is involved, you can relate better to the phrase forgive and forget. To sum up this whole definition business, it would be fair to say that to forgive IS to 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 you're the victim of a sin? Let's say someone has committed a sin against you and you don't 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.

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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 soul in.

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 you've committed that you think God should hold you accountable for, or do you want Him to forgive all of your sins?

Jesus addressed this very thing:

Mark 11:25-26

25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses.

Did you catch that? If you have anything (ought) 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 God's eyes exactly the way we remembered (or forgave) others. We're gonna conclude this study with a parable that Jesus told Peter.

Matthew 18:23-35

23 Therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 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.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 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.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 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:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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Okay, back to the beginning. Remember the question we began with? What would Jesus consider forgiveness? My friend, the answer is: He's gonna use the definition you choose with others! With that in mind, you may want to consider how generous you are with the gift of forgiveness that you grant others and to yourself!

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 as well.

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.

Did you remember to apply this to forgiving yourself too?

Let Go and Let God!

Let Go (of your problem), And Let God (remove it)!

Stepping Stones


Be sure to check out the Teen Newsletter at the link below:

There is a force out there that is attempting to overtake us all; it is Satan. There is another force that is protecting us from him; it is the Holy Spirit. It is a battle for souls. This battle is called Spiritual Warfare, and like it or not, you are right in the middle of it.

How to Prepare for Spiritual Warfare