So many people today are walking about living in condemnation because they can't forgive themselves for that which God has already forgiven.
Of course, there are prerequisites to receiving God's forgiveness - First of all, we are to repent of sin - Acts 3:19; Repent means to turn around -- to cease going one direction, and make a 180 degree turn and go the opposite direction.
Secondly, we must accept the shed blood of Christ Jesus Who gave His life in order that we might receive forgiveness. (Ephesians 1:7).
Third, we must confess our sin to God. "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9.
Then we must constantly be reminded of the magnitude of God's forgiveness. He doesn't forgive you of your sin because you have worked to earn it. He forgives you, because it is His Divine nature, and it is all because of His grace (unmerited favor) that we receive forgiveness.
In the process of His forgiveness, He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and has brought us into Christ, in whom we have forgiveness.
He has separated us from those sins of which He has forgiven us. Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." How far is it from the east to the west? Well, to answer that question, we must determine how far it is from the north to the south. If I remember my geography correctly, it is 12,500 miles from the North Pole to the South Pole. That is a fixed distance. You can only go north so far, and then you can only head south. But you can strike out in a jet plane and go west - and will just continue to travel into infinity. There is no fixed distance between the east and west. And that is how far God the Father removes our sins from us.
He not only separates us from those sins of which he has forgiven us, but scripture says He forgets them. Hebrews 10:17 "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." God is not divulging a divine weakness in such forgetfulness, but rather a divine strength in His ability to forget that which He has forgiven.
The problem with many of us is, we have difficulty forgiving ourselves and forgetting past offenses of which God has forgiven. Just remember, that when you refuse to forgive yourself for that, which God has already forgiven, you are (1) trying to set yourself up as a judge above God: (2) you are committing the sin of unforgiveness; Unforgiveness is just as sinful turned inwardly as it is projected outwardly.
If God has forgiven you, then you can forgive yourself. So just do it.
Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.