Can I forgive myself: Part 2 - Hope 103.2

Can I forgive myself: Part 2

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsThursday 15 Aug 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes

Transcript:

Talking again today about how hard it is to forgive ourselves for something we’ve done wrong. No-one is perfect,and we all have failed many times. And then of course it becomes an issue of whether or not we own up. Many people operate under the premise that: To err is human . . . To be able to blame it on someone else . . . is Divine.   Like the man heard his two-year-old son crying. He went into the room to investigate. His four-year-old daughter was in the room also. A plastic bat was lying on the floor. “What happened to the baby?” he asked. She answered,”He hit his head.”  “On what?” he asked. “The bat.” She replied.” And where was the bat?” he asked. “In my hand.” She replied. You see,we’re quite good at blaming other people for what we do. We learn the Blame-It-On-Somebody-Else Method at a very early age!

I wonder if you’ve heard of James Frey’s best-selling memoir,A Million Little Pieces published in 2003.  It’s an amazing book of his struggle and agony  and eventual recovery from drug and alcohol  in a drug treatment centre.  When Oprah Winfrey selected Frey’s memoir for her book club in 2005,and he appeared  on her television  show,  sales of the book skyrocketed. But in January of that year 2005,the bubble  burst. It came to light that Frey lied about some of the events in his book. Some he embellished  or exaggerated,others he simply made up. At first Oprah defended James Frey on Larry King  Live,but a few weeks later,she changed her mind and gave Frey a tongue lashing on her show. Frey now had a lot of problems. To his credit,he was contrite,finally admitted the lies and wrote a disclaimer which will appear in all future copies of his book. A letter to the editor in one of the American newspapers said “Frey is an addict in early recovery,meaning he is no longer using,so his senses are not acutely altered. But unless he has worked through the soul-searching process of really getting honest with himself,and learned to share that truth with others,he will continue to suffer from the residual damage that addictions cause.” It was a big struggle for James Frey to admit his deception,and to take responsibility for his own life and not to blame others. How easy it is to blame others for own mistakes.

And so,the question is can you forgive yourself? There’s a great story in Luke 19 about a man  named Zacchaeus He  was a chief tax collector and was rich. Being a tax collector was a much despised  occupation in Judea. Tax collectors were considered traitors to their own people and  conspirators with the Romans. In addition,there was a widespread suspicion that tax collectors  were dishonest,overcharging people and pocketing the difference. The fact that Zacchaeus was
called a chief tax collector implicated him more deeply in the corrupt Roman system which  sought to crush and oppress. And the fact that he was rich added to the assumption that Zacchaeus gained his money at the expense of others. So people hated him. Yet Zacchaeus knew in his heart that he was living in a way that displeased God. That’s why one day Luke tells us he was trying so desperately to see who Jesus was. Was he just curious? Had Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was a friend to tax collectors? Or was there a deep yearning in him,something  that caused him to say,”Maybe Jesus can help me escape this life.” Some of us can’t ever get past our own sin and are convinced there is no hope for us. Others of us don’t even recognize our sin. In anger,we blame everyone else,including God.

Anyway,Zacchaeus ran up the sycamore tree to get a better view. Because of his shortness,Zacchaeus may well have suffered from low self-esteem,selling himself short by working in a despised occupation. Did Zacchaeus feel shame coursing through his body as he ran? Was he filled with rage  at others poking fun at him?  Did he think,”Maybe I am beyond salvation! God’s mercy doesn’t apply to me. It’s not going to do any good to see Jesus. No one  can help me.” But Jesus stopped right in front of him and said,”Zacchaeus,I see you. Come on down. I’m going to stay at your house today.” Before Zacchaeus even said a word,Jesus approached him and offered grace. It was a powerful and transforming moment  Jesus noticed him. Jesus loved him. Jesus was not concerned about his sordid past. Jesus didn’t care that he was short. Jesus knew who Zacchaeus could be and opened the door for him to become a new man. People can be transformed,you know. Every one of us can change. Luke says that Zacchaeus hurried down and was happy to welcome Jesus.  After everyone grumbled about how Jesus went in to be the guest of a sinner,Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,”Look,half of my possessions I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything,I will pay back 4 times as much.” How Zacchaeus has grown! He is now a son of Abraham,as Jesus says,”Today salvation has come to this house,for the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost.”

ILLUSTRATION:

A lady called in to a Christian Talk Show. She stated that seventeen years earlier she had an abortion,and that every day for the past seventeen years she had asked God to forgive her.

She wanted to know if God would ever forgive her . . .
She wanted to know if she would go to hell for it.

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The host told her to pretend that somebody that had done her wrong showed up on her doorstep to ask forgiveness. She forgives the person and they go their way.

Then,the next day they show up again asking the same thing . . .
Then,again the third day . . .

Soon you would say . . . I forgave you of that three days ago . . . Why do you keep coming back asking forgiveness when I’ve already forgiven you?

So it is with God!

“Confession” means: To say the same thing.

We need to learn to say the same thing God says about our sins . . .FORGIVEN!

When we confess our sins,we not only admit we have done them,but we agree that Jesus died for them.

Confession declares that the blood of Jesus is more powerful than the guilt that haunts us!

Receive the cleansing.

The work of forgiveness has been done on the cross.
The blood has been shed.
The price has been paid.
The only thing left is for us to “receive” the cleansing!

I could offer you a hundred dollar bill by holding it out with my hand. But until you reach out and take it from me,it will never be yours.

The same is true with God’s forgiveness . .  until we receive it . . . it is not ours!

Once we receive the forgiveness for sin we don’t need to feel the guilt anymore.

ILLUSTRATION:

One day a little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot.
He wasn’t very good with it . .  couldn’t hit a thing.

One day his grandmother’s pet duck was walking across the yard.
As a boy would do . . . he let fly with the slingshot.

Much to his dismay,the rock found its target and the duck lay dead!

The boy panicked,took the duck and hid it in the woodpile.

When he looked up,there stood his sister watching him.

After lunch that day the grandmother asked the little girl to help her with the dishes. She replied,”Oh grandmother,Johnny wants to help you with the dishes today.” (She whispered to him,”Remember the duck.”)

Later,grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma replied,”I’m sorry,but I need Sally to help me with dinner.” Sally replied,”But Grandma,Johnny wants to help you with dinner today.” (Remember the duck!)

For several days Johnny was stuck doing his chores and Sally’s too.

Finally,he had all he could stand and he came clean with his grandmother.

His grandmother told him,”Johnny,I saw you when you killed the duck. Because I love you,I forgave you . . . I just wondered how long you would allow Sally to make a slave of you!!!

I wonder tonight how many of us are listening to Satan whisper in our ear (Remember the duck!) when in reality . . . the sin has been forgiven?

Tonight:

What wrong methods have you tried to use to remove your guilt?
Have you tried to:
Method #1: Blame it on someone else.
Method #2: Run and hide.
Method #3: Cover it up.

How to forgive yourself:

1: Admit what you have done.
2: Receive the cleansing.

Have you received the cleansing that only the blood of Jesus can supply?