Thought- Forgiveness must begin with forgiving ourselves first.
Scripture- “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” 2 Samuel 12:13
Insight: One of the biggest lessons I have learned from the Lord is how to forgive myself. There is nothing more enslaving in this world than the guilt and shame of our past mistakes, and there is nothing more liberating than repenting and being set free from that guilt and shame through the power of the Holy Spirit. But Christ set us free from all of our sins, past, present and future with His mighty work of sacrificial atonement on the Cross, and all that is required from us is to admit we have errored and ask for His forgiveness. Many people never allow themselves to be set free by bringing their sin before the Lord, and so they relive their past mistakes again and again, caught in an endless guilt cycle that weights on their very souls. But that is certainly not God’s will for our lives. Sure, our sin may have consequences that live into the future, but God wants to set us free from our shame because He has a plan for us and a bright future, as Jeremiah 29:11 mentions.
One of the greatest examples of the freedom that comes from repentance is King David in 2 Samuel 12 when Nathan brings to his attention the weight of his sinful behavior with Bathsheba and how he has sinned in the eyes of the Lord. David instantly is filled with regret and shame and guilt, but he brings it all before the Lord in honest repentance and Nathan lets David know that God has heard his prayers and forgiven him. There are still grave consequences for his dis-obedience, what could be more painful than the death of your own son as a result of your sin, but God needs David to still be a strong King over Israel and accomplish his purposes through him, so he restores him after his admission of guilt. This should serve as a shining example to all of us, that no matter how far we have fallen into our sin, no matter the gravity of our mistakes, God still wants to forgive us if we are willing to admit them and bring them forward in humble repentance. Forgiving others is hard if not impossible in our lives, until we learn to first forgive ourselves. This is possible only if we allow God to set us free from our past guilt and shame. When we do, we will find the freedom for our own souls and be free to forgive others who sin against us more easily. Then we can go forward in the power of being freed up by the Holy Spirit to live out the life God intends for us, fueled by the scripture in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that promises “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” May you be free indeed.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for forgiving us when we mess up, which happens a lot. We have no chance to be free from the shame of our sin and guilt apart from you. Set us free Lord as we repent in humble admission of our past failures so we can be free to live out the future life you have in store for us, in Jesus name. Amen!