Forgiveness is complete when we have experienced the forgiveness of God; we can forgive others who have wronged us; we are able to forgive ourselves.
“Forgiveness is based on the atoning work of the Cross, and not on anything we do. God’s forgiveness does not depend on our confession, no does his fellowship. Confession is a means for releasing us from the tension and bondage of a guilty conscience. When we pray, God, You are right. I've sinned against You. I am guilty of this act. I am guilty of that thought, we achieve release.”
Dr. Stanley writes about the consequences of not forgiving ourselves. He writes several paragraphs explaining each of the following consequences of a self-directed unforgiving spirit:
- We punish ourselves on an ongoing basis.
- We live under a cloud of uncertainty.
- We develop a sense of unworthiness.
- We attempt to overcome our guilt by compulsive behavior and excesses in our lives.
- We develop a false sense of humility when we feel permanently judged guilty and sentenced by God.
- We deprive ourselves of things God wants us to enjoy.
How do we forgive ourselves? Regardless of how long we have been in bondage, we can be free if we follow four biblical steps. Again, Dr. Stanley writes paragraphs explaining how to forgive ourselves, starting on page 150 we read:
- We must recognize and acknowledge that we have not forgiven ourselves.
- We must repent of that sin for which we cannot forgive ourselves. And we must thank Him for His forgiveness as we confess our sin to Him.
- We must reaffirm our trust in the testimony of Scripture. Psalm 103:12
- We must confess our freedom and choose to receive it freely.
If we are willing to follow these simple steps, not only will we be set free, but also the healing process will be initiated.
When we choose by an act of the will to accept what God has said as true, we accept God’s acceptance of us.
The chapter titles include:
- Forgiveness and Freedom
- The Only Solution
- Our Forgiving Father
- Handling Our Hurts
- When a Brother Stumbles
In conclusion, Dr. Stanley writes, “ Forgiveness is liberating, but it is also sometimes painful. It is liberating because we are freed from the heavy load of guilt, bitterness, and anger we have harbored within. It is painful because it is difficult to have to face ourselves, God, and others with our failures. It seems easier to blame others and go on defending our position of being right, even though we continue to hurt. But the poison of an unforgiving spirit that permeates our entire lives, separating us from God and friends, can never be adequately defeated. It is devastating to our spiritual and emotional well-being and to our physical health…
Before you close the cover of this book, forgive the one who has hurt you even as your heavenly Father had forgiven you and be really free!”
“Whatever your situation, whatever has happened in your past, remember that you are the loser if you do not deal with an unforgiving spirit. And the people around you suffer, too. You have within you the power to forgive, to be healed, and to be set free to live your life to the fullest.” This is on the back jacket to Dr. Stanley’s book, Put the past behind you and give…
The Gift of Forgiveness. [part 3]