“He’s forgiven you, but have you forgiven yourself?” The woman’s voice came over the line like a healing balm.
It’s almost as if time stopped with that question. My eyes fixed on rays of sunshine letting themselves in through my open front door, while flecks of dust danced in the light. I felt the phone against my ear, but no words would come. The woman waited patiently.
Everything in me wanted to say yes. I knew I was supposed to forgive myself. But I knew in my heart I had not. Over and over I asked the Lord’s forgiveness for the things I had done, yet I still carried the burden of shame, because I had not forgiven myself. I believed the lie that I had to somehow pay, to punish myself and carry the burden for the rest of my life; isn’t that what I deserved?
But the kind woman on the other end of the line brought the truth to light. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I didn’t have to carry them anymore. I could receive his forgiveness, and I could also forgive myself, asking and trusting Him to fix things.
So many of us have believed the lie that we have to carry around the sins we’ve committed like a burden on our backs. It weighs on us, slows us down, and sometimes stops us altogether. But the truth is that we don’t have to carry those burdens anymore, we don’t have to punish ourselves day after day. Jesus took the punishment for us. There may be consequences for our choices and actions, and we may have to walk through those, but we don’t have to punish ourselves anymore.
How do we get rid of that burden and forgive ourselves?
I’ll share with you some things I have learned along the way.
- One of the first things I do when I deal with forgiveness is picture Jesus on the cross in my mind. I picture myself walking up to him with my burden, bringing it to the foot of the cross.
- Then I say out loud, “Jesus, I confess that I _____________________. Would you please forgive me?” (See 1 John 1:9)
- I receive His forgiveness by saying, “Thank you for forgiving me, I choose to receive your forgiveness.”
- I declare, “In Jesus name, I choose to forgive myself for ____________. I thank you Jesus that you took that sin for me on the cross and I don’t have to carry it anymore.”
- I picture myself at the foot of the cross, giving him my burden.
Jesus bore our sins on the cross. We don’t have to carry them anymore. We don’t have to punish ourselves or live in shame anymore, we can let it go, give it to Him, and let Him carry them now.
Will you let Him take the burden from you? You have a wonderful journey ahead of you. It’s time to let go and move on.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light ~ Matthew 11:30