If you really want freedom, you first have to forgive yourself. Seems simple but hard to do. You see, God has the power to literally remove your sin from His mind (see Isaiah 44:22, Psalm 103:12, and 1 John 1:9 to name a few).
For some reason we can’t do that and the residue of past failures seems to stick with us forever. The incapability of truly forgiving ourselves hangs like a boulder we carry around everywhere we go. (I believe this was the “thorn in my flesh” that Paul talks of in the New Testament.)
So what do we do about it? 1)Repent 2)Make amends (if possible) 3)Plan to change. If you’ve done those things, STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. The Greek word for “no record” is logizomai (logEzomI), which means not to make a conclusion based on your own opinion.
God says you’re forgiven. That should be enough to give you freedom.
As I was reading the story of Samson this morning, an interesting parallel came to mind. Many of us know of Samson as a man of great strength. However, there is no Biblical evidence that Samson looked strong. Instead, his great feats happened only “when the Spirit of the Lord” came over him. This story is interesting because Samson’s birth was actually an answer to the prayers for freedom by the Israelites who were in slavery to the Philistines for 40 years. An angel actually came to his then barren mother with strict instructions as the birth of Samson (and his Nazirite vow) would initiate a new covenant with God. Unfortunately, Samson did not remain ever mindful of his intended purpose on earth and he made very bad decisions which severed his covenant relationship with God. As that covenant was the only source of his strength, he was weak until he repented and restored that relationship.
The parallel comes when we fast forward to Second Corinthians chapter 3, verses 17 and 18 (NIV): “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
If you want true freedom in your life; freedom from anxiety, freedom from regret, freedom from fear; ask yourself if you are living in alignment with God’s Spirit. Yes, this does put some of the pressure on you, but living a Christian life is all about constant self-evaluation and going back to God’s Word for wisdom.