Forgiving Your Past and Learning to Love Yourself

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Everyone has a past. Everyone has a record. Nobody is perfect. How can it be so hard forgiving our pasts sometimes?

I always strived to get good grades in school, I was obedient to my parents, I listened to my teachers, I didn’t get in trouble. “Perfectionism” followed me in most aspects of my life. I like to keep perfectly organized, I want my DIY projects and cookies to be perfect, I want perfect skin, I want perfect teeth, I want my relationships to be perfect, and I want to be a “perfect” Christian. I’m sure the list can go on and on…

If you’re like me, you consider yourself a perfectionist. It is hard to understand that nothing in life is perfect, but yet why do I strive for something unattainable?

The Bible says in Romans 3: 10-12, “As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Some days my past sins hit me straight in the face, and I am left staring at choices I made that I can’t undo. The regret that lies on my shoulders brings me to a new low, each time I rehearse my mistakes in my mind.

I wonder if because of my personality type (ENFP) I hold high expectations, and when I feel I don’t meet them, I get crushed- which is the main reason why letting go of my mistakes is difficult for me.

Jesus died to FORGIVE us of our sins.

Micah 7:19

“He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

I seem to forget that Jesus has cast our sins away, and I should too, but somehow I feel like I need to dwell on the thoughts of my past.

Dr. Neil Anderson, the Founder and President Emeritus of Freedom in Christ Ministries talks a lot about overcoming your past. In a talk he did on this subject, he said that you are not a product of the mistakes of your past-that is not your identity. You are the product of the work of Christ on the cross. You are a new creation in Christ- ALL things have passed away- behold , all things are become new- meaning a continuing state of newness. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Walking in Victory Over Remembering Our Past

1. Be Confident in Who God Is

When we start to put our confidence and trust in ourselves, we are ultimately setting ourselves up for failure. We are frail human beings that make mistakes, lie to ourselves, and are full of doubt and insecurity. We are not God and can’t possibly be all-knowing and see the big picture.

By trusting in God, we can relax knowing that despite our shortcomings, God is SO much bigger than our faults. Nothing can change the love God has for us. Romans 8:38-39 state that “… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Dwell on these truths when your past comes into your thoughts. Be confident that your past mistakes have no place in your present and future. Be confident that our God can help us through our darkest times and struggles.  I think a solid prayer to pray each day is to say, “God, you are in control and help me to remember that”.

2. Know When Guilt Is Spirit-led vs. Self-led

Guilt can be a good motivator-it can motivate us to right wrongs that we commit. It can also keep us humble, and our hearts open to correction. Guilt can be wrong if we have already asked for forgiveness from God and or others.  When we have turned from our sin and still feel deep remorse about it, guilt is NOT Spirit led. Jesus does not hold onto our sins and wave it in our faces. He says he casts our sins as far as the east is to the west. Psalm 103:12

During a sermon one time, a pastor said “When the devil reminds you of your past, remind the devil of his future.” As Christians, we have already won the victory. Hell no longer has its grasp on our souls. The devil who is the accuser of the brethren, all he can do is try to discourage Christians by throwing our past sins in our face. Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As long as we confess our sins, we have nothing to worry about.

3. Love Yourself

One day I was driving to work and on the Christian radio station I listen to, a listener was giving her testimony of how she became a relationship counselor after her marriage ended after 40 years. Can you imagine feeling so unworthy being a relationship counselor after you experienced a failed one? I am sure that went through her mind, but she said something that was so inspiring: “A broken vessel pours out more oil than a whole one.” She had suffered great pain, it broke her, but she knew that she could do so much more for others even with her suffering.

I think everyone experiences some self-loathing to a degree in life. Whether you are upset about personal mistakes, financial, or business mistakes, it is important to love yourself, I know the Bible clearly talks about loving others, but WE are precious in His sight too! Don’t forget to love the person who God made you, and know he loves you regardless of your imperfections.

4. Learn From Your Mistakes

Author Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”  The most important thing we can do is to learn from our mistakes and even learn from our sins to become BETTER individuals. It’s like a child that touches a hot surface, although they made a mistake that caused them great pain, they have now learned not to repeat that mistake.

My mom once told me that we don’t learn anything from our successes. Learn to embrace failures and mistakes knowing that we are in the refining process. I recently listened to the Heart and Hustle podcast by Lindsey Roman and Evie Rupp, and they had Erin E. Hooley on as a guest. Erin E. Hooley is the Owner/Founder of Bailey’s Blossoms, a multi-million dollar children’s clothes company. She talks about losing 2 million dollars over a failed business plan. Her President of her company told her, “You didn’t just lose $2 million; you gained a $2 million education.” What a great mentality to embrace failure in order to excel in life. Later on, she learned and got back on her path to success.  You can listen to the podcast here:

I know I learned a lot from my past, and in many ways, I am more sensitive and kind to others because of knowing God’s grace on me.

5. Understand That Our Mistakes Shape Us

I listened to a great message by Pastor David Jeremiah on the subject of our past sins/mistakes. He laid out four bullet points: how our past was designed by God, how our purpose was defined by God, how our problems were determined by God, and how our path is directed by God. Pastor David Jeremiah said, “God has a plan and purpose for us, one that uniquely belongs to us.”

Think of the great “heroes” in the Bible: Rahab the harlot, David the adulterous murderer, Saul turned Paul who murdered Christians, Abraham who had a child with his maidservant instead of trusting God for a son, Moses who killed an Egyptian-these are some serious sins, but guess what? God not only forgave these sins but he used these people in a mighty way! I know that thinking on my past sins, I am very humbled that God can forgive me and still love me despite my disobedience.

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, or email me a prayer request by filling out a short form on the about me page

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