In 45 years of ministry and meeting with thousands of people, here is one thing I know; THE HARDEST PERSON YOU WILL EVER HAVE TO FORGIVE IS YOURSELF.
Many of us beat ourselves up for things that, in some cases, happened decades ago with "I could have" "I should have..." "Why didn't I" "What was I thinking?" "How could I have been so stupid?"
To make things worse, the devil, the accuser of the brethren specifically focus his guilt and shaming efforts to those most vulnerable areas of our lives.
It seems unfair (because it is!) but the "me of today" can be very critical of the "me of yesterday." The problem is, we are judging the "past self" from a perspective of more maturity, more grace, more knowledge, more experience. We have grown, we have changed and we are so quick to fault that
younger, weaker person we were.
So many lives are diminished in this backwater of regret and self-condemnation. Christ died on the cross to deal with these things....it's time we let it go! We are neither honoring God, helping anyone, and only
hurting ourselves by holding on to all of this. It is time to move on:
1. Take the time to really look at what in the past is bothering you. You can do this through counselling, journaling, talking to a trusted friend. Do the hard work of facing this, and be willing to let it be a little
uncomfortable. Don't run, don't make excuses....just look at it.
2. Go to confession. Get prayer for inner-healing. Don't just surface the pain...find a way to surrender it to God. Tell God where it hurts. Tell Him (again) you are sorry, but this time, accept the reality that you are
forgiven. Thank Him for this.
3. You can, in your imagination, take that younger version of yourself, to the foot of the cross. Let the You of today "forgive" the you of yesterday as you stand at such a place of mercy. Pray for that earlier you, surrender them to the mercy of God....and leave them standing in the presence of Christ.
In many ways, if you can find the grace to forgive this person, you will find the grace to forgive any person.
May grace.....and mercy be with you....and the "you" of yesterday. May you know forgiveness.......and peace.