Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Growing up Catholic I got really good at recognizing when I did something wrong. I also knew that I should ask for forgiveness and apologize to those I had wronged. If you have been with this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have no problem in admitting that I am a sinner and that I struggle at times like everyone.
However, there is something that I didn’t learn growing up because I wasn’t taught this little tid-bit from the bible. Not only are all of my sins forgiven the moment I accept Jesus as my savior, but also that I no longer have to feel the guilt and shame of my past.
Guilt does awful things to a person.
It allows you to believe that you deserve what is coming to you. It convinces you to put up walls and barriers to protect yourself from those who would want to persecute or think badly about you because of your past. It flat out lies to you and tears you down bit by bit. It tricks you into thinking you have to do penance and it snickers at you when you slip and whispers in your ear that you’re only taking once step forward while slipping 5 steps backward each time.
When Christ died as THE perfect sacrificial offering for my sins and I then accepted Him as my risen Savior, I was no longer seen as the sinner. I am seen as clean as Christ in God’s eyes. So why do I still feel like I’m paying for my past?
Because others like to remind me of how I wronged them and how I was “less than.”
Because I am reminded from time to time of the struggles I have had to face and how they weren’t the prettiest of memories fit for family photo albums.
Because Satan and his demons love to get a good guy down when he’s vulnerable and he attacks ruthlessly. He uses those closest to us so it will hurt the most and He knows just the right sore spots to punch.
So how do we attack this problem? We don’t. We rest in the knowledge that we are completely forgiven and we have been washed white as snow! Heart, soul and conscience. If Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t sufficient enough to do away with ALL sin (to include the ones we cling so firmly to in memory), then what was the truth worth of it?
Yes, I did wrong. I did GREAT wrongs in my past!!! I hurt people and it altered the course of my life in many dramatic ways. However, that was the old me. The one who was lead by guilt and shame. Today my conscience and my soul can rest easy. I still do wrong, however I am quick to know it because I can feel the pain of my sins trying to battle the Spirit within me. I am more aware of my wrong doings and my hurtful thoughts towards others because they go against everything I believe in now.
It doesn’t end there though….no, no, no. The other person? You know, the ones that like to bring up your past or remind you how you have done wrong? Or the ones who have wronged you? Yeah. Those guys. Guess what? Their wrong doings, whether it be judging you in the form of bringing up your sins or their hurting you emotionally, are not yours to bare either.
You must forgive and wipe clean their wrong doings from your conscience as well. To forgive is to GIVE (as you did) beFORe. Before the hurt, before the anger, before the sorrow, before the seemingly cataclysmic events that tried to alter the way that you view that person. They (hopefully) also have confessed their sins to God, taken responsibility of their wrong doings and thoughts, have asked for the Father’s forgiveness and want to make things right between you and them. After that there is nothing more that they either must do. So let their conscience rest as well.
It’s hard to do, especially when the other person never asks for forgiveness from you or acknowledges that they see how they have hurt you. Some people are completely oblivious to how their actions hurt others until God trips them up and they hit rock bottom. However, holding on to the things that others have done to you is also a sin.
Paul writes, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same thing.” (Romans 2:1) In most cases, focusing on another’s sins can lead to your pride and will allow you to think that they should suffer as you have suffered. You are not judge nor jury nor executioner. God alone holds that position and, YES, they will be dealt with as He sees fit!
So, tell God “Thank you!” Take the the forgiveness that God has offered you and show others what it feels like to be loved for all that you are. Use your thoughts and your actions to glorify God because you are beautiful in His eyes!
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