Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog

Forgive YOURSELF! John 20:32


John 20:23
If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.

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"To forgive is to set a prisoner free
and discover that the prisoner was you."
~Lewis B. Smedes~

BlogFam, one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is forgive.  And I know that the message to receive the forgiveness of God and to extend forgiveness to others has been drilled into all of our heads.  We all know that forgiveness is a very powerful act that releases us spiritually and even emotionally so that we can move on past whatever needed to be forgiven.  However, today, I just want us to spend a moment thinking about one person that we are often most reluctant to forgive – ourselves.

"Only after we can learn to forgive ourselves
can we accept others as they are
because we don't feel threatened
by anything about them which is better than us."
~Stephen Covey~

I have a question. Have you forgiven yourself lately?  I know that this might sound strange to some of you but perhaps you are not able to move forward because you have not yet released yourself from the mistake you made or the pain you caused or the words you said or even for allowing certain things to happen on your life.  When is the last time that you repented to yourself acknowledging the self-inflicted wounds that you caused and up until now you have blamed everyone else?  When is the last time you released yourself from the guilt of having been the one to have initiated the argument, the fight, the rumor, the gossip, the embarrassment, the breakup, the divorce, the abuse, the retaliation, the failure, the loss, or the gain?  We all know that everything that has happened is not the fault of someone else.  Some of the mess we find ourselves in is our own fault and we need to forgive ourselves!

"We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude
toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out
arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate; thereby,
making the present comfortable and the future promising."
~Maya Angelou~

Lent is a season of spiritual reflection and renewal and as we continue our 40 day fast, today, I hope that you would also consider what you need to do to have a better relationship with yourself.  It is time for you to move forward and stop blaming others for what you have refused to see in yourself.  I know that this is a hard pill to swallow.  No one wants to think of themselves as the hindrance to their own progress but that just might be the case.  You know that our God is faithful and just to forgive and as soon as you confess your sins, you are forgiven.  As it relates to others, we know that we must forgive them because that is also critical to the forgiveness we receive from our God.  We are forgiven AS we forgive our on debtors or those who trespass against us.  But what about the man or woman in the mirror staring back at us everyday? 
Self-forgiveness is the natural starting place for anyone who wants to lead an ethical life as free from hypocrisy as is humanly possible…. self-forgiving person is not – as many believe, or at least fear – a selfish person. It is the person who remains stuck in self-doubt and self-condemnation who will lead the more selfish, less productive life…. In order to practice genuine self-forgiveness, we must accept full responsibility for who we are and what we do…. Self-forgiveness is essentially inseparable from self-respect and self-responsibility. – Thom Rutledge

Our scripture for today is this: If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.  Jesus is speaking to his disciples near the end of the Gospel of John after His resurrection.  And I think if we were to take the liberty apply this verse to our relationship with ourselves, we would grow in ways that we have not been able to because we have not forgiven ourselves of our own sins.  Please look at this verse in a different way -
If you forgive your own sins, your sins are forgiven;
if you do not forgive yourself, you are not forgiven.

Friends, when is the last time you truly forgave yourself for ___________________?  Yes IT was your fault. And though it may not seem like a big deal, for some reason that same thing keeps coming up as a distraction or as something that aggravates you about others simply because you fail to admit that you are guilty as well.  Friends, it is time to let IT go!  It really is time for you to FREE YOURSELF!  It is time for you to be honest with yourself and face up and fess up to the reality that YOU need to FORGIVE YOU!

And you can begin the same way in which you have done in the past when forgiving others – 1. Acknowledge how you have wronged yourself [Be Specific] 2.Apologize to yourself for what you have done and for how long you have allowed IT to stifle you [Be Sincere] 3. Accept your own apology [Be Gracious] 4. Agree with yourself that you will learn from what you have done and make every effort to never do IT again [Be Honest] 5. Attend to all things that will ensure your success in the future [Be Positive]

If you forgive your own sins, your sins are forgiven;
if you do not forgive yourself, you are not forgiven.

God Loves You and I do too!
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