Have you ever done something in your past that you deeply regret? Have you ever hurt loved ones or friends with your actions? Do you carry around deep wounds from your past and the heavy burden of guilt?
I know I have.
This has been the most difficult hurdle in my walk with God. Intellectually I know that God loves me and forgives me for my sins (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Acts 3:19) but how do I forgive myself? How do I love such a wretched man as myself? How could I love a man who has hurt so many people that I love? How do I put what I know to be true into action in my life?
These are some tough questions, but lucky for us God is in the business of answering tough questions. All of my soul searching brought to me a wonderful conclusion, one that had been there the whole time, staring me in the face. When we ask God a question where does he provide the answer? The first place to look is Holy Scripture. The Living Word of God. In this collection of Inspired and God-Breathed writings God gives us guide posts and lessons to climb any mountain, and conquer any challenge life throws at us.
If there was a single thread that was woven through all of scripture tying it all together, a place where all 66 books would point to or lead, it would be the cross. You see, Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross for the salvation of all those who believe, that single moment in time, that one event in all of created history… that moment provided the answers to my questions.
Think about this for a moment, you are a unique creation. Your DNA is so unique that there is only ONE of YOU. Never in history has another shared your DNA and never in the future will anyone else. Just think about that.
Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” NIV
Jesus Christ, there at creation (John 1:1-3), already knew you, knew the person you would become and LOVED you deeply as his most cherished creation. It is very important that you understand this point. Until you feel the deep sense of worth that God sees in you, you will never be able to love yourself.
Have you done horrible things in your life? Perhaps. Are you a hopeless sinner? No. You are a wonderfully crafted masterpiece of God trapped temporarily in a fallen world under the curse of sin. But here’s the best part, GOD IS WITH YOU here, now, in this broken world and the life you perceive as shattered and destroyed.
God the creator of the entire universe, who created you for one purpose, to have a loving relationship with you. God who, with the words from his mouth, brought forth the entire universe. That God is with you. And do you think He is capable of putting the pieces of your life back together? Is He capable of lifting the burden of your past off your shoulders? You know the answer to these questions.
So let’s go back some earlier questions. How do I love such a wretched man as myself? First, I had to stop seeing myself as a wretched man, and start seeing myself as one of God’s created children. If God loves me so much, I must be worthy of that love. Others in my life also love me, my wife, mother and brother to name a few. If you search out your own life, who loves you? We have established here that God loves you. Who else?
I want you to try something with me. If you have some of the same questions I have posed early on in this article, would you pull out a piece of paper and pencil. At the top I want you to write: Those who love me. Just under that I want you to write in big bold letters GOD. Below that I want you to make a list of people in your life that love you. Family, friends, church family, co-workers… anyone that would be deeply saddened if you passed away suddenly. Once you have your list will you read it over a few times? Envision each person on your list, and the times you have shared with them in your life. Spend some time with your list and feel the love you have for the people on it. There is your worth! There is your value! You matter to more people than you know. Your circle of influence is far larger than you imagine.
Once you find your value and self-worth, it is time to deal with the guilt of your past. If we go back to scripture it is quite clear that God not only forgives us of sin, but also FORGETS our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 10:14-18). How is this possible? How can a God who is Omniscient forget? Quite simply, He chooses to forget. Once your sins are forgiven (which is when you ask Jesus Christ into your life) He is faithful to forget your past transgressions! Did you get that? God is showing you the way to deal with your guilt… put it out of your mind and move forward with Christ.
Your mind is your battlefield my friend, many great teachers like Charles Stanley have been teaching this for a long time and it is very true. The sooner you learn to control your thoughts the sooner you will live free with Jesus Christ as your friend and guide. The other option is to keep living life as you have been, letting your thoughts control you.
How has that been working out for you?
You need to choose today, right this very moment, to LOVE yourself as God loves you and forgive yourself for your past deeds. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, you have much to do! The Kingdom of God won’t build itself! Put your transgressions out of your mind on purpose and FOR A PURPOSE. You are not the man or woman of your past, you are the man or woman that God created for His purpose. Join me today, and let’s start living with that purpose in mind.
Stay Strong & Stand Tall
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