by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday March 18, 2005
Our forgiveness is not complete until we can forgive ourselves. Even after experiencing God's pardon and reconciling with those who have wronged us, we sometimes still lack peace. This can be traced to a self-directed unforgiving spirit.
Two men in Scripture faced this problem in a very intense fashion. One is the disciple Peter, who denied knowing Jesus Christ. He must have replayed the moment many times in his mind: as the Lord passed by with soldiers, Peter had just declared for the third time that he didn't know Jesus. The other man is the apostle Paul, who had once committed himself to eradicating Christianity. But neither man could justify holding onto destructive self-bitterness, because they knew God had forgiven their sin.
When we punish ourselves by repeatedly replaying a sin, a cloud of uncertainty develops - our own unforgiveness undermines our confidence in God's forgiveness. Over time we feel unworthy not only of pardon but also of blessing, answers to prayer, and the Father's love. Eventually we build a prison of guilt. We may think that our offense is too great to be forgivable. But there is no passage in the Bible that says, "God will forgive us for every sin except . . ."
To be free of our unforgiving spirit, we must first acknowledge it. Then we repent and tell God that we realize unforgiveness is not in keeping with His Word. Finally, we choose to forgive ourselves by faith - not based on feelings, but based on the truth of Scripture, which that He has removed our sins as the east is from the west.
Be sure to tell your teen about Teen Connection - the official teen outreach of In Touch Ministries. This cutting-edge web site is filled with practical content, including articles, interviews, a study guide, and devotionals, for teenagers of all spiritual maturity levels. The featured interview for March is best-selling band Caedmon's Call. Check out Teen Connection today!
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