Week of: April 25, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Just coming off the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior, I feel renewed in my Spirit. I think one of the reminders to meditate on from the cross, is the sin debt we owe but could never repay to our Savior. However, God’s Word tells us there are things we can do to bring honor and glory to His sacrificial name. We can learn to please Him.
Last week we looked at the steps we can take to obey God’s command to forgive others. We talked about the experience of becoming whole while we allow God to free us from a spirit of unforgiveness. I pray you are learning something that encourages you. This week we’re going to look at another step ~ forgiving yourself and God. Again, I will be sharing from the book Praying God’s Will for Your Life by Stormie Omartian.
FORGIVE YOURSELF AND GOD
by Stormie Omartian
“While forgiving others is crucial, forgiveness is also needed in two other areas. One area is forgiving yourself. So many of us think, I should be achieving this; I should be the kind of person; I should have done more than I have by this time in my life. I certainly was burdened by these kinds of thoughts.
God is the only one who is perfect. We have to be able to say, “Self, I forgive you for not being perfect, and I thank You, God, that You are right now making me into all that You created me to be.
Some of us have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. Before I came to know the Lord, I wasted my life doing drugs, dabbling in the occult, and getting involved in unhealthy relationships. When I was finally able to forgive myself, I realized that God could use even those experiences for His glory. I am not able to speak into the lives of women who have committed these same errors. They see that what God has helped me to overcome is possible for them too.
Besides forgiving others and yourself, you must also check to see if you need to forgive God. If you’ve been mad at Him, say so. “God, I’ve been mad at You ever since my brother was killed in that accident.” “God, I’ve been mad at You ever since my baby died.” “God, I’ve been mad at You ever since I didn’t get that job I prayed for.” Be honest. You won’t crush God’s ego. Release the hurt and let yourself cry. Tears are freeing and healing. Say, “Lord, I confess my hurt and my anger, and my hardness of heart toward You. I no longer hold that against You.”
Forgiveness is ongoing because once you’ve dealt with the past, constant infractions occur in the present. None of us get by without having our pride wounded or being manipulated, offended, or hurt by someone. Each time that happens it leaves a scar on the soul if not confessed and dealt with before the Lord. Besides that, unforgiveness also separates you from people you love. They sense a spirit of unforgiveness, even if they can’t identify it, and it makes them uncomfortable and distant.
You may be thinking. I don’t have to worry about this I have no unforgiveness toward anyone. But forgiveness also has to do with not being critical of others. It has to do with keeping in mind that people are often the way they are because of how life has shaped them. I began to truly forgive my mother when I realized how difficult her childhood had been and what problems she had faced as she grew into adulthood. We all need to remember that God is the only one who knows the whole story, and therefore we never have the right to judge. Being chained in unforgiveness keeps you from the healing, joy, and restoration that are there for you. Being released into the future God has for you means letting go of all that has happened in the past.”
Over these past few years I have been working hard to get this lesson. I am so grateful for Stormie Omartian’s willingness to help women like me understand the importance of doing what God says. I’ve been working to be obedient to restoration in any relationship that God calls me to work in. It’s been a lonely road at times, as not everyone understands the need to experience this kind of freedom, and not everyone is willing to forgive. But there have also been victories, times when I know God is smiling.
It is my prayer to soon be belting out the chorus lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace. I sing it all the time, but I want to own it. I desire to truly be free to forgive others, God, and myself. Let’s work at singing these words’s together in God’s Holy chorus. "My chains are gone; I've been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, Unending love, Amazing grace."
The following are prayers in Stormie’s book that you might find helpful.
To Forgive Yourself by Stormie Omartian
Lord, I know that You have forgiven me for my sins of ____________. I thank You for Your unconditional love and grace. I am truly repentant and wish to overcome these tendencies. Now, Father, help me forgive myself. Erase my guilt and create a new heart in me.
To Forgive God by Stormie Omartian
Lord, I admit that I am upset with You because of _______________. Help me see things from Your perspective. I know You are a good God and have my best interests in mind at all times. Forgive me for holding this against You. Heal me of my disappointment.
Book suggestion: Lord, I want to be Whole by Stormie Omartian