The conference topic is: “ESCAPE PLAN: SIN IS A PRISON; LET’S BREAK OUT!”
Session 3: Unspoken: I can’t Forgive Myself (Walking Out of Our Prisons) 1 JOHN 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 ESV)
We can be free even though we are struggling. Even though you’re forgiven there is this ball and chain that is found in not forgiving yourself. We need to view ourselves as God view us.
He’s going to read 1 John and asks us to say “that’s true” if we agree.
He then asks some questions to see if we really agree. Have you ever said – I can’t believe I did that? Ever wished you had not said that? Or asked – what was I thinking? Or was I thinking? Or, where was my brain?
“At this moment God is quite unreal to us, He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God … The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Sometimes people just feel powerless when in sin. Do you ever wish you could take something back? Is there anything in your past that haunts you? Ever done something you wish you had not done? Ever said – if I could take it back I would?
You can’t take it back or undo it. Aren’t you thankful for God’s forgiveness? If we don’t receive God’s forgiveness we will be constantly failing.
Did God sovereignty forgive David? Absolutely! Did that take away the consequences? No. Forgiveness is not based on reconciliation with another person. My forgiveness is not predicated on another human. You may be as hard on as someone else who won’t forgive you as they are on you.
God is going to hold you accountable for what He has given you. While he doesn’t think he is a very gifted and talented person; he has tried to zero in on what gifts God has given him and use it.
Quotes 1 Kings 15:5 and asks if there is that one major regret in your life where you struggle with forgiving yourself?
He shares a story about a 93 yr old who wants him to preach his funeral with the casket open so he can hear him one last time. The man wants the funeral to tell men to deal with one thing at a time when it comes to forgiving self.
The older you get the more you understand forgiveness. The aged are the most tender and forgiving people in the church. The struggle with self-forgiveness is based on ignorance of the truth or an unwillingness to see self as God sees you.
1) We are fallen and desperately in need of grace. 2) We are deeply loved and accepted by God. Failure to embrace both realities from the heart manifests itself in a variety of ways.
We think we can become the judge of our own hearts instead of God. This keeps believers from living free.
Three barriers: failure to accept self, failure to receive forgiveness for self, failure to grant forgiveness to others.
When we get saved God forgives of our past, present and future. He offers some illustrations including one on marriage. On our wedding days we commit ourselves to our spouses not knowing the future while God saves us while knowing our future.
Ephesians 1:6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Christians are accepted in Christ. The Christian life is about what Jesus did not about what we did right or wrong, but based on Christ’s imputed righteousness.
Three distortions of forgiveness
Overt Pride - don’t need God’s grace; can make it on own.
Performance Trap - shouldn’t need God’s graces; should be able to make it on own.
Self-hatred, Reverse Pride - beyond God’s grace; I am left on my own.
We are conquerors because of the grace of God. Those distortions keep us from God’s love.
The enemy gives an alternative by attempting to show us another way. Believers then become ensnared and ineffective. God’s glory is stolen and believers put themselves in bondage.
Failing to forgive self is really a failure to receive and accept God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance. Continual self-condemnation shows that people have set their own standard, judged themselves by it and pronounced themselves guilty.
The answer is to submit yourself to God the father through His Son.
There is so much divorce in America because there is so little forgiveness. For everything you wife did to you, you have done more than that to God. We need to extend forgiveness as Christ has for us.
Our forgiveness of others flows from the gratitude of the overwhelming grace and forgiveness we have been given.
He references Jesus and the woman at the well stating that Pharisees are loaded in our churches. The Pharisees measure and weigh their sin as not as bad as others’ sins. But we are all just as hell bound regardless of the type of sins.
We need humility and gratitude and the fruit of holding the two realities in tandem. Failure to embrace humility leads to the sin of pride. Failure to embrace gratitude part leads to the sin of self-hatred, or reverse pride.
You’ve been judging your worth as a person. Only the Savior God has that right. Stop!
Repent of sinful pride that tells you that you have a right to evaluate and judge your worth as a person. Only our Creator/Savior has that right.
Meditate upon the cross of Christ to the point of heartfelt gratitude for His complete (finished) work.
Meditate on the love of the Father Who freely gave His Son, thanking Him for His love, mercy, and grace.
This session closes with the story of the Prodigal Son explaining the Father never listened to the speech the son rehearsed. He only showed delight in His Son’s return. Implicit in the story is that the son had to let go of his self-condemnation in order to truly experience the party the Father had thrown.
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:24 ESV)
Johnny encourages us to believe what God the Father believes about us through his Son Jesus Christ.