May 31

Je Ne Regrette Rien, Part 3

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Many of us look with longing at these words in Philippians and think that this is something we will never really be able to do. The regret is too strong, and the past has too strong a hold on us. That’s a lie from the enemy.

Sometimes we are working things out well spiritually and we hit a familiar brick wall that stops us in our tracks. It’s called the “I can’t forgive myself” syndrome. Almost all of us have this condition from time to time, but there are sure cures.

One is to bow, without argument, to God’s simple command to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We are all included under “men” in that verse, and there is no exclusion given for ourselves.

If that realization doesn’t open the heart, perhaps this will: If we “can’t” forgive ourselves, we are setting a higher standard for forgiveness than Jesus did. We are establishing an idolatrous set of criteria for being forgiven than God has provided us. His sacrifice on the cross was enough, and still is enough, for all of us. The fear of God should shake us at this point of realization.

But perhaps there is yet another reason for this. Sometimes we are so appalled at what we did that we are still in a state of spiritual shock. Our pride is assaulted by what we’ve done, and we haven’t gotten past that. We may have had a view of ourselves that didn’t include the behavior we exhibited, and we’re still trying to take it all in. We may not have put it this way to ourselves, but we’re shocked at the depth of our sinfulness. If that’s the case, we need to repent of our pride and our over-estimation of ourselves. It turns out we are not “all that” after all. We need to bow low—deeply humble ourselves—and quietly receive his free gift.

The good news is that God knew that all along, was leading you to this point, and stands ready—because of what Jesus did 2000 years ago—to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Remember that you may be the only one who was surprised by what You did. The One who loves you most knew all about it, and He still loves and still forgives.

Prayer: Father, move me past my feeling that I can’t forgive myself. I repent of my pride that would raise up a higher standard than Your Cross for forgiveness. Thank You for Your patience with me as you continue to work in my heart.