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How Forgiving Myself Changed My Life

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Jesus loves you.

You’ve heard that before, probably. But have you sat in that truth lately? Jesus loves you. Specifically you. Not an idea of you, who you might become or who you used to be. You, today. You, every day. Jesus loves you.

It’s easy to see how Jesus loves the people in your life who seem to get everything right. It’s easy to see how Jesus loves children who still hold on to their innocence. It’s easy to see how He loves those who love Him well.

Sometimes though, I bet you find it difficult to see how He’d love you. I mean, I’m sure you’re great, but I know that sometimes I find it hard to see how He’d love me. Especially when I start stacking every lie I’ve told on top of every time I’ve chosen myself over others on top of the guilt I’ve felt for some of the choices in my life.

But that’s why I love learning more about Jesus.

When I look at Jesus’ life, I see that He didn’t play favorites. He hung out with the poor and the rich, murderers, the sexually immoral, people with reputations for dishonesty…the list goes on. Those who should’ve lived in the consequences of their sin instead found themselves walking side-by-side with a guy that knew everything about them and still wanted to spend His time with them. Even in the situations where they did have to deal with the consequences of their actions, Jesus always saw them through it, spoke truth into their situation and ultimately flipped the negative into an incredible opportunity for good.

If Jesus loved these people enough to not just look past their sin, but forgive them and walk with them into freedom, He’d do that for you and me too. Right? I believe so.

At Cross Point Church where I work, we have this saying: it’s OK to not be OK. I remember when I first heard the phrase; I didn’t even really understand it. It sounded nice, but I’d never lived in a world where it really was OK to not be OK.

Looking back over the last year and a half of my time at Cross Point, this phrase has sunk in and changed me forever. I finally found myself surrounded by people who don’t pretend to have it all together. They are people with pasts and complicated presents and fears and failures, and they’re people who believe that the same Jesus who loved all the crazy people in the Bible, loves them too.

Being able to witness broken people receive perfect love…I finally felt like I was allowed to have it too. I realized that God’s love doesn’t just see me in my brokenness; His love meets me there.

I think that’s the key—love and forgiveness go hand-in-hand. I couldn’t forgive myself until I understood that God forgives me. And I couldn’t understand that God forgives me until I believed that He loves me as much as He says He does.

I think we’re called to live there, moment-by-moment, in His love. Living there prevents the enemy’s accusations from sinking in. Because that’s all they are—accusations. Through Christ, my sin—the mean things I’ve said, the shameful things I’ve done, the poor reactions, manipulative moments (and so. much. more.)—it equals zero. My sin is nothing.

Living there, loved and forgiven, offers me more than freedom when my life ends and I’m finally face-to-face with my heavenly Father. Living loved and forgiven allows me freedom today.

Forgiving myself is really just saying “yes” to the freedom being gifted to me through Jesus Christ. It’s saying, “I believe Jesus loves me”. And if someone would go that far to tell me they love me, you can bet I’m going to fight for my right to believe it. And I’m going to receive as much of that love as I possibly can.

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