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The linking element of forgiveness is repentance. God has given those two things, together, in order for us to find freedom. Many people are looking to be forgiven, but they have never truely repented of their sins. Even God is looking for our repentance, and then He will truely and fully forgive. Psalms 103:12 says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." If God Himself has forgiven us, who are we that we should hold unforgiveness in our hearts, even toward ourselves? Again, the key here is repentance. If you have truely repented of past sins, then receive God's grace and forgiveness, stand up, and start walking forward in your faith toward Christ and His work for you on the cross. If we hold unforgiveness toward ourselves when He has already paid the price for sin by His death on the cross, then we are nullifying His work for us. Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Knowing that God forgave us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the foundation to finding the courage to forgive ourselves also. The grace of God and His love for us is too great for the human mind to comprehend. How can it be that when our sins did abound God's grace was and ALWAYS is greater (Rom 5:8-20)? It is only natural as a human being to have the constant 'inner war' that Paul references two chapters later, but remembering God's love will help in giving the Spirit more frequent victories. We look to the cross for the reminder of just how much God truly does love us! Eph 3:16-20 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," Christ's death was indeed THE sufficient payment to God for all of our sins (Col 1:14), but we are also now COMPLETE in Him upon having faith (Col 2:10). This means that not only are we no longer subject to the punishment from God that we deserve (1 Thes 5:9-11), we are also now free to no longer punish ourselves. Jesus Christ bore all of our guilt on the cross FOR US! If it is by our faith in Christ that we are now seen as even the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21), why should we then not allow the power of this peace to reign within ourselves? If we view Christ's suffering as completing our own suffering we can then let go of the anguish that continues to hinder our spiritual growth. We accept the fact that we are still human in nature, but should remember that we have been made spiritually perfect in the sight of God through having faith in Jesus Christ. We are now seen by God as joint-heirs with Jesus himself (Rom 8:1-17)! God wants us to fully realize this new position in Him. Our growth in faith, transition from the carnal mind to the spiritual, and ministry to others depends on the clarity of this realization (Rom 8:6). 2 Cor 5:17-21 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
It's so hard to trust that God has forgiven us of our sins. The multitudes of rebellion, selfishness, and blatant wickedness even after salvation makes us very suited for hell. I know God has forgiven me of my sin, past, present and future as the Bible tells me so, but it's another thing all together to forgive oneself over our pasts. I am burdened down with remorse and guilt many times, and I spend a good portion of that time in tears. How I feel has no bearing on how God thinks about me. I'm forgiven. Period. No matter how many times I sin, I'm still forgiven. I do spend much time in prayer asking God for strength to forgive myself over my past and how I treated those around me. That's all I can do, and that's all you can do. Go to God. Humble yourself in His holy presence and admit whole-heartedly that you cannot forgive yourself because you don't have the power to do so. If you did have that power, then you wouldn't need God. And boy, do we need Him! Go to God, cry out for mercy and strength and be humble enough to admit powerlessness in a day and age where self is everything and trust that in His time, you will have that ability to forgive yourself once and for all. There's no magic formula and no amount of emotional band-aids will make it better. Hope this helps.
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