Sunday, March 6, 2011

Forgiving Ourselves

Most of us have heard the parable of the king and the man who owed him 10,000 talents. It is found in Matthew 18. The king forgives this man a dept of an astronomical amount after the servant pleads to the king for more time. After the servants dept was forgiven he goes to another fellow servant, and demands that he pay him the 100 denari that he owed! Talk about hypocritical, yet it portrays us in such a simple and true way.

God forgave everyone their sins, and we many times refuse to forgive each others offences, but sometimes forgiving others is far easier than forgiving ourselves. I have to admit that I dwell over my own mistakes and stupidities far more than the sins of others.

In that parable, the servant that refused to forgive his fellow man was given over to tormentors, and even though when we fail to forgive we are not thrown in jail to be tortured by the "tormentors," we do create a prison in our hearts and the tormentors of hate, anger and bitterness torment us. When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are turned over to the tormentors of loneliness, regret and guilt.

Matthew 18:34

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

The choice to forgive or not to forgive is easily reflected in our lives, and even though we might be able to hide our guilt and regret, it always ends up being exposed. When we are old and have grey hair, will we be crabby, lonely and sour, or sweet, kind and gentle? I am sure you can think of a real person, or a fictional character that reflects a life full of guilt and self contempt. To be totally honest, I think of Mr. Fredrickson, from the movie Up. If you have seen the movie you can remember how he was always sour because he never got to fulfill his dream of visiting "paradise falls" with his wife. That lost dream became his nightmare. Don't let your lost "dream," or opportunity become your nightmare. You choose the life you want to live.

We need to forgive ourselves for shame of things not done, and regret for foolish actions. Maybe it's that scene that keeps playing in our mind of how we could of changed things, or when we think back and say "if only I would of ____ instead of ___." These are usually signs that we are still holding something against ourselves.

Once we are honest with ourselves about our guilt we need to stop living according to our expectations, and begin living with God's expectation. We usually expect too much from ourselves, or too little. God doesn't expect us to be perfect, but he expects us to fullfill His plan for our lives. When we fail to forgive ourselves we hinder God's plan in our life.

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

We live and we learn. Those mistakes can now serve us and become a lesson well learned, so that we can strain toward what is ahead. To win that marvelous prize which Christ has prepared for us. Don't turn yourself in to the "tormentors," instead turn yourself into the forgiving arms of Christ.

I'd love to hear any comments that you all have!


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