by Brandy Webb
I was thinking the other day about the scripture that states that if we do not forgive, we can’t be forgiven. It is found in Matthew 6:14. Well, it struck me that this can be applied to whether or not we forgive ourselves.
I find it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself, and I realized that by not forgiving myself, maybe I have kept the Father from forgiving me also. I may be stretching this scripture in Matthew, but the Messiah is pretty bold; He says if you “forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14). I know that He is meaning between us and someone else, but, seriously, why can’t it apply to how we treat ourselves?
Therefore, why can’t it also mean if you haven’t forgiven yourself then neither can the Father forgive you? This may sound very harsh and not uplifting, but it was an awakening moment for me. I seem to have a bad habit of rehashing what I have done wrong instead of repenting and moving on, which ignores the freedom that the Father gives us when we repent.
I must embrace forgiveness and believe that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we don’t forgive ourselves we are basically ignoring God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. It is almost like saying, “Sorry God, I don’t trust you to forgive me. I don’t believe what the Scriptures say.” It is ignoring the sacrifice that the Messiah did for us.
We are a “new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:17-18). We must look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are forgiven, leave all our past sins at the throne, and accept his cleansing forgiveness.
If we are to love and treat others the way we want to be treated, we better learn to treat ourselves in a loving and forgiving manner. How are we to be loving and forgiving to others if we can’t treat ourselves that way?
One thing I must remember is I am not perfect, and I will never be perfect in this imperfect body. If I was perfect, I wouldn’t need a Savior. So, just like in AA when someone admits to being an alcoholic, he or she says, “Hi may name is ___ and I’m an alcoholic.” Well, “Hi, my name is Brandy, and I am a sinner, but I am forgiven.”
We strive to live a righteous life, but sometimes we stumble. We must dust ourselves off, learn to not trip over the same stump again, forgive, and move on, leaving the stumbling block behind us.
Let us go into this Fall Holy Day season with a clean slate. Let us accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves of our past wrongs, and then let us rejoice.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s…. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him (Psalm 103:1-5, 8-13).