I recently finished reading the book "The Shack", if you haven't had a chance to read it I highly recommend it. What an amazing story and an amazing message. Anyway the book got me thinking about forgiveness. As Christians we are forgiven for our past, present and future sins. Our loving Father sent His son to redeem us, therefore we are forgiven and all is right, right? Wrong!
As humans we have a tendency to hang onto to our sins, guilt, feelings of isolation and negativity. It is almost like if we let go of them, then what we did was excused. Our sins are not excused, they are not forgotten, God just forgives them. There is a huge difference between forgotten and forgiven. We must never forget what we have done, but we do need to forgive ourselves so that our relationship with the Father and others can grow.
One of the hardest lessons I'm trying to learn is to see through our Father's eyes. I'm far too critical of myself and certainly too hard on myself. I forgive others, so why is it so hard to forgive myself when I've done something wrong. Why am I better or worse than everyone else? Why do I think that I'm being held to a higher standard than everyone else? Am I trying to say that I'm better than the next person? God loves us all the same. There is the same standard for everyone. All sins are the same, no matter how big or how small they break the relationship we have with God and therefore are of equal value. If He can forgive me, again why do I have such a hard time forgiving me?
When we forgive our sins we release the guilt that is associated with that action and we open ourselves to positive growth. We are given opportunities to use our past actions to help others, to guide our future decisions. Forgiven sins bring a new understanding of ourselves, of who we are and of who we want to become. It gives us a benchmark for future actions, if we are to grow.
With all that said do I still feel guilty about some of my actions and sins - yep. Do I still have difficulty in forgiving myself for my actions and sins, not all of them, but definitely some. Do I know better than God what is good for me? No, but I am human and with His grace I'm working on forgiving me just as He has forgiven me and as He has forgiven all of us.