1 John 1:9 says
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It’s that simple. It’s that straight-forward. If we are sorry for our sins, repent and confess to God, it is erased. He has forgiven you, and what you did is no longer in existence.
In the past I have made several bad decisions involving this young woman pictured with me above. Throughout the entirety of our togetherness, I felt guilty. I knew what I was doing was wrong. As a christian I knew the choices I made were sins. Yet I chose them anyway.
Finally, after months of feeling guilty and realizing life would never get better until I let go of the thing, the person that had me in chains, I confessed to God. I knew He already knew, but laying prostrate in my guilt, confessing every detail of my sin to Him began my road to moving on. Immediately I felt His forgiveness. I then had to learn to forgive myself.
It’s been a long road. Understanding that with His forgiveness comes erasing of the sin is hard. If HE can forget, so should I. But for a long, long time I carried the guilt and shame of this time of my life with me. Carrying this guilt brought about physical manifestations. I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 14, but my eating disorder thrived during this time. I also participated in forms of self harm. I hurt myself because I felt I deserved it. I thrived on the feelings it created. In some small way, I wanted to die. A slow, painful, death.
But here I am. I can’t say it’s suddenly very easy. It’s not. I’m still recovering from the eating disorder that certainly could have taken my life. I saw that forgiving myself wasn’t the only step I needed to take.
I needed to forgive her for her part in things, too.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
It’s not enough to ask God to forgive YOU, to heal YOU, to save YOU–Before we even consider ourselves, we should approach God with a mind for others. As much as I blamed her for all the negative outcomes in my life, I knew that to move on I had to forgive her. So I did. I was surprised at how easy it was. God loves her, and so should I. If she asks for forgiveness, He has forgiven her. And so should I. So I did.
This has made all the difference. The things we did I can’t even speak of, I am just surprised either of us made it out alive. But I know that God watched out for us, because he promises to watch over His children. And now that I have forgiven her, it makes forgiving myself that much easier.
That part of my life is over. It is finished. According to God, it never happened. I am free. I can’t describe the overwhelming freedom this puts in my soul. This doesn’t mean the thought of her never crosses my mind–it does. But my soul is free from the past. I can think of her and smile, because I know she is alive, I know she is a christian, and I know I never have to deal with her again.
(Guest Post by Tarah Tubbs at Evolutions of Self)