It’s not uncommon to hear seemingly successful people, make statements like ‘I had an abortion when I was 19 and I can’t forgive myself’. ‘I’ve done things I can never forgive myself for’ .
These statements are made despite the fact that God has forgiven us and tells us that he will remember our sins no more.
What about those of us that refuse to forgive people and insist on reminding them of their past errors and mistakes?
I once had a long conversation with a friend of mine who insisted that he couldn’t marry a woman who has had an active sexual past. A summary of the conversation is as follows:
Him: ‘I can’t marry a woman who has had a very active sexual past. These things matter. I mean, I don’t want to go out with my wife and another man will have seen what I’m enjoying’.
Me: Life is a marathon and people do a lot of things in the path to self discovery. The past is the past.
Him: My dear, let me be honest with you, most people don’t say what they mean, just to be socially accepted. A woman having a clean sexual past speaks to her integrity.
Me: So picture a 28 year old female, MBA holder, mid-level management, excellent fashion sense and a clean corporate and social reputation. If you find out that she had a wild sexual life in her teenage years, does it mean she doesn’t have integrity?
Me: And if God has forgiven her and doesn’t remember it anymore, who are you not to?
Him: silence…… I just know what I want in a woman.
(And to be honest, he is entitled to want a particular type of woman.)
This was the conversation however, that got me thinking about guilt, regrets and the paradox of it. If we really believe God forgives us, why do we not forgive ourselves and hold on to pain and regrets? Is it the part of us that believes we should pay for our sins?
Do we believe it makes us better to be bad people, if we beat ourselves up and live in guilt? That way, we show that we did not just brush it off and move on.
When we err, we are required to seek forgiveness and change our ways not live in guilt.
Those of us who choose to remind people of their past, just know Kim Kardashian is on the cover of Forbes and Oprah, got pregnant at the age of 14.
God forgives us when we ask and his only demand is that we seek his grace not to err anymore. If God says you are forgiven, you make him a liar by refusing to forgive yourself or others by constantly seeking to remind them of their past.
Go out there and win.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime