I’ll never be able to forgive myself.
Just typing those words brought so many emotions. I remember the years of regret being so strong that I was sure I’d never get past the disappointment I felt toward myself. Years of sexual immorality and destructive choices confirmed my already low self-esteem. In time, I was able to accept God’s forgiveness. But even then, it took a while before I could see myself in a positive light.
What recurring memory still makes you cringe in embarrassment and shame, even though you genuinely repented of those choices?
When the prophet Nathan confronted King David about his sin with Bathsheba, David sought God’s forgiveness. But if he had not accepted God’s mercy, he would have let that period define the rest of his life. Though David still experienced severe consequences for his actions, holding onto false guilt would have made it more difficult for him to ask for God’s intervention and direction during the many years he endured those consequences.
How differently would David’s story have been if he had chosen to live in self-condemnation? Would we know him as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22)? Similarly, how do people view our relationship with God when we choose to hang on to our shame?
If we want others to know us as people after God’s heart, perhaps rather than dwelling on our failures, we should consider praying the words King David prayed after he was confronted with his sin:
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15 ESV).
How would it change our witness (and our own faith) if we stopped living as if Jesus’ death and resurrection weren’t enough to pay for our sin – and begin praising Him for His extraordinary kindness for Calvary more often?
Then maybe, as we continue to declare His praises, our confidence in His love and faithfulness will grow. Our witness will change as we no longer give into the lie that we’re not worthy of God’s intervention and direction in the years we’ve yet to live.
Think about it, which would be a better testimony – and more fun(!): Allowing our hearts to grow weary with regret and sorrow due to our sins? Or opening our mouths to declare God’s praises?
What about you?
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- Do you struggle with shame, self-hate or false guilt for sins you’ve already confessed to God?
- Would spending time praising God for all He has done for you, including dying for you, help change your perspective?
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