A free gift for you today: Since it’s garden-planting time, I have posted a free Bible study on my website entitled Digging Up Dirt: Cultivating the Seed of Forgiveness. As you’re pulling weeds outside this week, consider how the weed of unforgiveness chokes the life out of us.
I am THE worst at reflecting on past failures and bashing, kicking, biting, pummeling myself for them. The memory comes, and I say, Stupid! I’m so stupid! How could I have done that? -reliving, with self-malice, what I did and the effect it had on others.
It makes my stomach hurt.
How can we forgive ourselves? I’ve struggled with this question for years, knowing in my mind that God does not want me to live this wretched existence of regret, yet not knowing how to deal with it.
Well, God opened my eyes to the answer, and I will offer it to you for your own pondering. I wrote on this passage recently, but I must touch on it again from the perspective of forgiving ourselves.
James gives us the command (4:7 NIV) to “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” However, in the verse prior to this James describes God as a giver of abundant grace. (If A=B and B=C, than A=C.) If we are to submit to God, and God is a giver of grace, then to submit to God is to submit to grace.
The opposite of submission is rebellion.
I conclude that to call up our past failures and REFUSE grace is to live in rebellion against God.
James 4:6 says God opposes the proud, and it is the proud person who stands at the cross of Christ and refuses to bend a knee. Refuses to allow Jesus to take the weight of the sin.
I like things to be simple, and it is simple for me to understand the choice between rebellion and submission. I can picture the body language of both –one arms crossed and feet planted, unmoving –the other arms open and weak knees, prostrate.
I have decided I do not have the nerve to stand in front of the cross of Christ in pride. It horrifies me to think of chesting up to the Almighty God and refusing to bow to His grace, by holding onto my past failures. I can’t imagine saying to His face, “Your Son’s sacrifice wasn’t good enough to cover this failure. Thanks for trying, though.”
THAT IS SCARY PRIDE.
So forgiving ourselves is all about the cross and how we decide to approach it: Will we submit to grace?