If God has forgiven me, why can’t I forgive myself?
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalms 103:12.
Do you know if you get on an airplane and fly east as long as you want to, forever if it were possible; there will never be a time when you will all of a sudden be going west! And you can go west for eternity but there will never be a time you will reach the east.
But if you travel north, you can only go so far until you will eventually be going south. And if you travel south, and pass Antarctica, you’ll be headed up north again and so vice versa.
How far is the east from the west? They never meet!
This is why God said He has removed our sins “as far from us as the east is from the west”. This is one of the most beautiful symbolic portraits in scripture of God’s forgiveness. He separates it from us and doesn’t remember it anymore! He forgives AND forgets. We like to bring up our ugly past but God has wiped the slate clean. When we continually repent about the same sin over and over again I wonder if He is just shaking His head and saying, “My child, I already forgave you of that the first time you asked!”
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25. NIV
When our former sins come to our minds we can either dwell on them, and feel guilty all over again, or we can choose to feast on thoughts of the wonderful God that forgave us, and give Him the praise. “…Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8.
God is also not pleased with people who do not forgive themselves because they don’t really WANT to forget their former sins. They enjoy reliving them in their minds, but this is also a sin! A man, or woman, who lusts in their heart, is guilty of the sin of adultery, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28. Comparatively, every time we mentally relive our sin, we are committing that same sin over again. This is very dangerous in the life of a child of God. If you have repented of it, ask God to get it out of your mind!!
“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19.
There are also times we don’t feel forgiven when we have honestly repented. That is a lie from the enemy! The Bible says the devil is the father of lies. He puts toxic thoughts in our minds because he knows our past is forgiven, it is hidden, under the blood.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalms 32:1.
The Prodigal Son, who had squandered all of his inheritance on “wild living”, came to his senses and realized that the servants in his father’s house were living better than he was! Prodigal, by definition, is a spendthrift, or a waster, a squanderer; a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way. This young man insisted his father give him his inheritance while he could still enjoy it; and he did just that. He spent every last dime, and when it was gone, he found himself at the mercy of anyone who would give him even the literal slop that they fed to their pigs to eat.
But he swallowed his pride and went home to his father who RAN to him and welcomed him back with open arms! Phillips,Craig and Dean recorded a beautiful song about the Prodigal Son entitled, “When God Ran”, that tells the story so beautifully.You can listen to it here.
Are you struggling with letting go of something today? Is the enemy whispering past sins in your ear? Remember he is a liar, and everything he is telling you? The opposite is true! Your sins are under the blood and are remembered no more! “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1.
“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman (caught in the act of adultery), ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’” John 8:10-11.
Are you having trouble reliving your sin? For your sake, your family’s sake, let it go. You are already forgiven and it is time to move on. The more we dwell on things from our past the harder it is to forget them and make a fresh start.
And lastly, what if you are the UN-FORGIVEN? Not by the Lord of course, but what if you have clearly hurt someone or wronged them and then not only repented and made it right with God, but you tried to make it right with them as well, but they will not accept your apology? They will not forgive. They have clearly made you their enemy. They just refuse to reconcile.
Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. We need to pray for good things to come into their lives. Pray for good health in their families. Pray for financial blessings. The Bible also tells us that God will not forgive those who do not forgive their brother so they definitely need Jesus. If they are a Christian, they will not have peace as long as they are not obeying the commandment to forgive so you need to just pray for them that their heart will be softened. Pray that you will not become bitter; you can’t make them forgive you so just keep praying for them, and loving them, from a distance, if necessary.
Whatever you have been struggling with, struggle no more friend. Jesus has already paid the price.
If you have repented of the sin, He has forgiven and forgotten, as far as the east is from the west.
Now that’s pretty far…