Forgiving yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your walk with Jesus if not the hardest thing you will ever do. At least it was for me. Why?? Because if you are anything like me, forgiving me was something I didn’t know I could do much less that I HAD to do in order to encounter the FULL inheritance and blessing Jesus had for me.

Now when I accepted Jesus were my sins forgiven? YES!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY 1000%!  However, I believe that Jesus just didn’t die and shed His blood on the cross so that JUST my sins would be forgiven but that through the forgiveness of my sin and by His great love that I would know and encounter the FULLNESS of God and all that He has for me. 

Almost 7 years ago, 2 weeks before Christmas my ex husband left me and my 3 children.. Broken, shattered, abandoned and orphaned became my new normal and became the avenue to my spiral out of control. I became dependent on affection and attention as my affirmation and began to seek it I anyway I could. I became lost to who I was and focused on what I was not. I was lonely, depressed and on most days suicidal. 

UNTIL.

Until one day I found myself in teeny tiny church that was held in a community center. I found myself going almost on autopilot even though this was the last place I wanted to be. Jesus desperately wanted me but I wasn’t so sure so I placed Jesus on probation. He would have to prove to me that He wouldn’t leave.  Over time I rededicated my life to Christ and for the first time in a REALLY LONG time I felt like I belonged somewhere.  But it doesn’t stop there, after giving my life to Jesus and confessing my sin and being forgiven, and knowing that Jesus loved me,  I still felt  trapped inside my own personal hell. I carried blame and shame depising who I was and what i saw in the mirror. Believing the lie that even though I was forgiven that somehow I was a fake. I had received his forgiveness but I couldn’t accept it. 

And THEN CAME……

And then came the encounter that changed everything. On Thanksgiving morning 2013 I decided suicide was the answer. I could no longer go on living knowing I had been forgiven yet every time I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see forgiveness only failure. God encountered me in a moment that morning and without going into everything… led me to a place where this conversation happened.  He told me that I needed to forgive myself. He told me that He had already forgiven me and I didn’t have seek forgiveness everyday to keep Him. He wasn’t going anywhere and that He didn’t remember the sin that kept me in bondage ONLY I did.  Forgiving others was never hard for me because I wasn’t tied to their sin and their sin wasn’t my fault, but myself I couldn’t see how to because my sin was my choices and my fault and I didnt know how to forgive that much less forget it. Blame. 

You see, I had tied my unforgiveness for myself to God’s opinion for me, but it wasn’t God that had the problem forgiving and forgetting it… it was me. I couldn’t move on.  I felt that I needed to pay for the sins that I had committed and shame and blame were doing the job quite well, only God didnt see it that way. He showed me by hanging on to the unforgiveness, shame and blame that I was hindering all that He wanted to do in my life. He showed me that Jesus has already paid for that on Calvary. It was a gift that He so wanted me to receive FULLY not just half way.  So one day, I looked myself in the mirror and I said” Christi I forgive you. I forgive you for.”…. and I began to list all the things that I saw myself as and as I asked myself forgiveness a freedom came over me and a love that I can’t explain flooded my heart and Ive never been the same. When I forgave myself it opened a gateway for me not to just to receive His forgiveness but to experience it. I realize now that the enemy will use your sin to make you bitter but only God can turn your sin into something that makes you better. 

How many of us live in our private hell of punishment feeling like its what we “ deserve” because of choices we made. It’s not where God wants you to live. He wants you to not just be forgiven but to be FREE.  That’s the beauty and the power of the cross. But forgiveness  toward yourself is something only you can give and receive to you.. it’ll take courage and faith but I believe in you and so does Jesus. And together, we are cheering you on and excited to watch you not just receive but experience the FULLNESS of His forgiveness and love for you.

-Christi Stone