Did that title get your attention? I tend to be too hard on myself, at least in some ways. Can you relate? In other ways, I am probably not hard enough on myself. Lately I’ve been thinking about how foolish it is to keep beating myself up about sins that God has freely forgiven and chooses to never remember against me. And how foolish it is to feel worthless, or like I need to punish myself for my imperfections. A good friend recently reminded me of these truths from the Bible:
Micah 7:18-19: Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Psalm 103:10-14: He [God] has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
That’s a lot of forgiveness. Complete forgiveness and God chooses not to remember a believer’s repented of sins against him/her. Do I need to forgive myself? I hear this a lot. But I don’t believe I am capable of forgiving myself. What I need to do is EMBRACE AND BELIEVE IN, truly believe in and accept GOD’S forgiveness. And to realize how all sufficient is/was Jesus’ payment for my sins. How perfect a sacrifice He really was. How fully satisfied God is with Jesus’ perfect propitiation. Propitiation is probably my favorite Bible word. It means: “something that propitiates, specifically : an atoning sacrifice”. That definition was from a secular dictionary (Miriam Webster m-w.com). To truly understand the meaning of this word, it is good to study the letter of Hebrews in the New Testament. I don’t want to turn this post into a Bible lesson and better Bible teachers have already taught great lessons and sermons on propitiation. I have studied Hebrews a lot (I love it so much); should know it, but sometimes still struggle. So here is a prayer for myself and I hope it might also help others with regard to accepting — truly believing in — God’s forgiveness. This is for believers in Jesus who have truly repented of their sins.
Dear God: I believe Jesus Christ paid for my sins on the cross. I believe His sacrifice was all sufficient. Please help me remember that if I continue to beat myself up and listen to Satan’s lies about my forgiven sin, then I am disbelieving and am calling Jesus’ perfect propitiation for my sin insufficient. I do believe God — please help my unbelief.
Help me thank you for my forgiveness, continue to turn from sin, and enable me by grace and your empowerment to overcome sin.
Help me remember that although my justification is secure and complete, my practical progressive sanctification will be a lifelong process. Keep me faithful to persevere in pursuing my personal holiness even as I know You have promised to transform me by grace and complete the good work You have begun in me.
I must not expect perfection of myself! Help me remember Lord that perfection will not come until my eternal reward. Help me rejoice that one day I will be glorified and my struggles with sin will be over forever.
Though I must not expect perfection in myself, please help me to continue to pursue excellence. Help me to fully embrace and receive and accept the forgiveness You have so graciously given to me.
Help me remember that my worth is not in my abilities, or work ethic, or in anything I can do or earn, but my worth is in Christ and His finished work on the cross for me. You created me for a purpose and You have a plan for my life. I am a co-heir with Jesus Christ by grace through faith. That makes me a princess! Though I was worthless in sin and imperfection, You have made me worthwhile and Your friend. God help me to always bring honor to You as King.
I am being led into the good works that You have predestined for me before the foundation of the world. You see my circumstances and hardships and understand me better than I understand myself. Help me remember I am not really qualified to properly evaluate myself but You Jesus are and will be my perfect righteous judge.
Please heal whatever wounds in my past that are hindering me from embracing my forgiveness and help me to start thanking you for forgiveness instead of “beating myself up”. But please also help me to always remember what a heinous affront my sin is to You Holy God. Help me turn from all sin and freely accept and embrace Your gracious forgiveness.
Your Kingdom come; Your will be done in my life Lord. Please don’t lead me into temptation and deliver me from the evil one, my own sinful old nature, and from the lies of the world system. Glory to God.