Updated: Aug 23, 2021
When your past is laden with sins and regret, it is hard to truly forgive yourself. I can forgive others with much greater ease than I can forgive myself. However, God makes it very clear that he has not only forgiven my sins, but he has also forgotten them as well.
Hebrews 10:14-18 states "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about it. First he says; "this is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord, I will put my laws in the hearts, and I will write them on their minds. " Then he adds "Their sin and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary." This passage is very meaningful to me for several reasons. The first is that we are all a work in progress and those of us, ME, who are being sanctified, bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity. God forgives us before we are perfect. Great news on my behalf because I am far off to the left of being perfect. The inward change that is mentioned in verse 16 is the stage where I am right now. Much has been changed and it is my firm belief that the changes will continue until the day I die.
At first, this process terrified me. I thought about how much honesty and work it was going to take but now it isn't so scary as God has been kind and gentle with me. I haven't been quite so kind and gentle with myself, but I am getting better at it, and with the support of three kind and gentle ladies, I feel this is something I can conquer where once I didn't think I could succeed.
Then verse 17 says that God will remember no more. He will no longer hold my sins against me. This is something that is still a bit foreign to me as the world likes to through your past transgressions in your face, but if God doesn't remember then I shouldn't care about those who do. The song "One Day at a Time" is one that runs through my mind on occasion and particularly the part that says "yesterday's gone, Sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. God help me today, show me the way, one day at a time."
Yesterday is gone and there is not one thing we can do about what did or didn't transpire and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I am attempting to live in and enjoy today while not dwelling on all my yesterdays or worrying about my tomorrow. There are many quotes about having this mindset and knowing them in your head is one thing but believing them in your heart is another.
Believing that God will give me the strength to do every day what I have to do and knowing that God has promised us that no matter how much temptation comes our way there is a way out.
1 Corinthians 10:13 states "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." Right there tells us that the old saying - the devil made me do it - is not a valid excuse. The devil may have tempted you but you, I, choose to do even though God provided a way out.
For many years I would sin, say sorry to God, and then right back at it. There was no true remorse in my hollow apologies. It wasn't until I came clean and truly repented that I felt any relief.
The simplicity of the 10 Commandments when I read them as a child became the stumbling blocks through my teens into my mid-forties. Exodus 20 outlines the 10 Commandments and when I put the light of truthfulness on them I realize that I have broken everyone one of them. Now don't get jumpy and wonder where I hid the bodies of those I murdered, there are no buried bodies. But, the hatefulness I had in my heart towards others and the horrendous thoughts and sometimes words I said to them or about them were truly so hateful that I was murdering them in a totally different way. Sorry that I jumped to number six first, but I wanted to clear that one up first.
10 Commandments - how I broke them
1 and 2: (Put God First and Worship God Only) I put everything and anything before God. There was no place for him in my life and everything else took my attention and was my priority. There were plenty of things I put before him.
3: (Do not take the Lord's name in vain) Mouth of a truck driver. Enough said.
4. (Honor the Sabbath) Holy Sabbath - no that was just another day for me to screw up.
5. (Honour your father and mother) My actions didn't bring any honor to my parents.
6. (Do not murder) Covered it above.
7. (Do not commit adultery) I have been divorced twice. Enough said.
8. (Do not steal) I have not paid for things in my past. If they forgot to charge me or undercharged me for something I didn't say one word.
9. (Do not lie) Like a cheap rug on many occasions.
10. (Do not covet) The green-eyed monster of jealously and envy were alive and well.
Mark 3: 28 states "Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter." I am so truly thankful to God for this ability and willingness to forgive.
Mark 3:29 however does make it extremely clear that whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit and his power (giving satan the credit) never has forgiveness but is guilty of an everlasting sin. I used to worry whether or not I had committed this sin but after reading and studying on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that if the Holy Spirit can trouble my spirit when I have sinned and cause me to repent, I have not committed this sin.
My opinion is that if I am or was so concerned about crossing that line, I haven't. With conviction comes the Holy Spirit and you have not committed the unforgivable or you would feel guilt, remorse, or anything of the kind. It is where there is no remorse, no shame, and no repentance that there may be an issue.
I am so happy to report that I am 100% forgiven and know that I have not crossed the line of unforgiveness because I seem to deal with all the feelings listed above on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit and I are working on me and it is moving along in many areas. There are times when I, not the Holy Spirit of God, go fishing in the sea of forgetfulness and drudge up the past but I don't dwell on it nearly as long.
Forgiven - my heart is beginning to believe and understand.
Forgotten - still in the works but since God doesn't remember that me, I don't discuss her with him anymore.