Learning To Forgive…Myself

This past Friday night, I admitted something to my pastor I have been unable to tell him for the last year or so. My family witnessed it all first hand. I had admitted to my little brother what a mistake it was after everything had ended. I have had multiple conversations with friends about the incident. Most of all, I have confessed to God how wrong I was for the decision I had made and for going against His will for my life. I knew God had forgiven me, yet I still felt guilty. When I thought about why though, I realized I hadn’t talked to my pastor about it all, which did not follow the pattern of my life.

I have known my pastor for quite a number of years and think very highly of him. He is like a big brother to me, a great friend, an amazing pastor, a wise counselor and sometimes even a giver of advice only a father could give. When I thought of telling him about the decision I had made almost three years ago, I could only imagine his disappointment in me. I felt as if he would be ashamed for the choices I had made. I suspected he might not accept me anymore.

What lies all of those thoughts were? What lies I let the devil tell me? What lies I let the devil persuade me to believe? As I was praying at the cross on Friday night, admitting wrongs and laying myself before God, I felt a nudging in my heart… “Tell Reza,” God said. I prayed a Gideon-type prayer at that moment and asked God for a sign. Not minutes later, there it was, my pastor was walking towards me. I knew this was the time I needed to stand up and admit to my pastor what I needed to a year ago but couldn’t find the strength to:

My last boyfriend and I lived with one another, and obviously, we weren’t married. My parents were on the verge of separating and I did not know what I was going to do as far as a living arrangement. When he brought up the idea of moving in together, I jumped right on board. I thought I loved this guy. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. I thought he cared about me. More so, I thought God would approve, granted in the back of my mind, I knew He did not.

We lived together for 8 months before arguments drove us apart. For 8 months, I served him with all of my heart, instead of serving the Father who truly loved and cherished me. For 8 months, I considered him my family and walked away from the church who considered me their family for so much longer. For 8 months, I abandoned some of the morals I’d grown up striving to keep. Most of all though, for 8 months, I valued my own selfish needs and desires over God’s guidance and will for my life.

After my boyfriend and I split up, I knew exactly where God was calling me back to…Him. I was back in church two days after our breakup and I was on my knees in front of Him immediately. I knew I had made a mistake. I knew I had turned my back on Him. More so, I knew the first thing I needed to do was to confess to Him and ask for forgiveness.

The amazing thing about God’s forgiveness is He gives it to us immediately after we confess to Him. He doesn’t hold a grudge. He doesn’t want to “teach us a lesson.” All He wants is to love us with the unconditional love He is and has. John says it perfectly in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

On Friday evening, I admitted all of this to my pastor. I admitted to him how wrong I was for the decision I had made to move in with my ex-boyfriend. I admitted to him how I thought he was going to be ashamed or disappointed in me. I also admitted how I knew Satan was lying to me about all of those thoughts and feelings. The great part out of it all was his first response. He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Brandy, I’m not ashamed of you.”

At that exact moment, I felt weight instantly lift off of my shoulders. I saw all of the lies Satan had put in my head vanish. I felt God’s comforting blanket warm my shoulders. Most of all, I felt the feeling of forgiveness, and it was not God’s forgiveness, instead it was forgiveness from myself for the mistake. For over a year, I did not know how to forgive myself for living with my last boyfriend. I did not know how to overcome the ashamed feelings I felt, but God helped to shatter them. Without Him, I am truly incapable of doing anything!

When it was time to leave the church on Friday night, I turned on my car, plugged my iPod in and started to drive home. Only about 30 seconds later, my iPod died, so I decided the radio would keep me company on the way home. When I turned on the radio, God started to play the exact song He wanted me to hear after the evening I had just experienced. The song is called “Unashamed” by Starfield. Here are the perfect lyrics:

I have not much
To offer You
Not near what You deserve
But still I come
Because Your cross
Has placed in me my worth

Oh, Christ my King
Of sympathy
Whose wounds secure my peace
Your grace extends
To call me friend
Your mercy sets me free

And I know I’m weak
I know I’m unworthy
To call upon Your name
But because of grace
Because of Your mercy
I stand here unashamed

I can’t explain
This kind of love
I’m humbled and amazed

That You’d come down
From heavens heights
And greet me face to face

Here I am at Your feet
In my brokeness complete

With all of that said, this weekend I learned a few things. My mom isn’t ashamed of me. My dad isn’t ashamed of me. My grandparents aren’t ashamed of me. My little brother isn’t ashamed of me. My friends aren’t ashamed of me. My pastor isn’t ashamed of me. Most of all, though, my God isn’t ashamed of me. And now, I am not ashamed of myself. I learned the power of forgiving myself for mistakes I have made and the power God has behind that forgiveness!

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