In a few more days we'll all be saying goodbye to this year and saying hello to the coming year. As we prepare to enter a new chapter in our lives, there's one thing each one of us has to do. This one thing is so important, failing to do it will mean carrying unnecessary weights that will surely hinder us from living the life God wants for us.
What is it? It's to forgive ourselves for our failures and the mistakes we committed this year.
How is that important?
Forgiving ourselves is very important. While the Bible does not explicitly mention that we should forgive ourselves, it does mention the wrong habit of self-condemnation. Romans 14:22 tells us,
"Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves."
Many of us remain in a state of guilt and condemnation long after God has forgiven us because we can't forgive ourselves. We already confessed our sins before God and asked for His forgiveness, and we have received His forgiveness, but we just can't let go of the fact that we did something wrong. We can't forgive ourselves.
Reasons why we should forgive ourselves
So what's so important about forgiving ourselves? Here are a few reasons:
1) We condemn ourselves for something God has already forgotten
The Bible tells us that when God forgives us, He blots out our sins and remembers them no more. Hebrews 8:12 tells us,
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
If God has forgotten our sins, then what's the point of remembering them? Many Christians today keep coming back to God, repeatedly asking for His forgiveness for the same sin or offense. Did you know that not believing in God's absolute forgiveness is a sign of unbelief in Him and His goodness?
2) We render ourselves unable to do what God wants us to do
Have you ever noticed how God stressed the importance of forgetting the past? In Isaiah 43:18-19 He says,
"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
God is always at work in our lives today, but unless we let go of our mistakes - particularly the ones He has already forgiven - we will not be ready for the next step.
Consider the prophet Samuel. We read in 1 Samuel 15:10-35 how God rejected Saul as king over Israel, and how Samuel mourned for him. In 1 Samuel 16:1 we read God snapping Samuel out of his sadness in order to move on to his next assignment:
"Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.""
3) We won't learn our lessons
Many of us keep repeating the same mistakes because instead of learning from them, we just keep on regretting them. The more we regret them, the more they stay in our minds. The more they stay in our minds like a meditation, the more we will be likely to just commit them.
This is because when we condemn ourselves for something that we've done, we label ourselves as such. Proverbs 4:23 tells us,
"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life."
The more we fill our hearts with the wrong things, the more we will just do wrong.