With Easter fast approaching, I have started a mini-series to explain, for this gal, what it truly means to me...
And if you missed the first entry you can find it here:
In that blog entry I shared my journey to forgive those who had deeply hurt me.
Today I venture into different waters...
I want to share how the cross affected my view of myself, and more specifically, how the cross enabled me to forgive myself... for things I had done (past, present, and I can only be sure there'll be things in the future)
When I was a young girl I know that I got myself in to trouble. Often.
I was always the curious sort, and so I loved to explore. Getting lost in a store while shopping with an adult...moseying on around the neighborhood, and getting out of my 'allowable' areas...getting into things I found at home that I shouldn't touch...getting bored in the classroom and writing love letters (that were later confiscated by the teacher!)....yep, I was a bit of a character to parent :)
As I grew, so did my 'wrong list'. Staying out later than curfew. Lying to my parents.
Talking behind my friends' backs.
Teenage years were even worse...
disrespect of others.
I don't think I plotted to do these things. Life just seemed to happen. The more life continued on its ruthless path, I just seemed to spiral farther and farther out of control.
I can say for the most part, I don't remember really caring about all the wrong things I did. They seemed normal at the time. Acceptable. Justifiable.
I mean I wasn't hurting anyone...was I?
As my teenage years continued there was a family that came into my life. They never seemed to leave actually. Weaving in and out of my familiar circles. They invited me over for dinners. They prayed for me, when I allowed it. They invited me to church. They never once scolded me, that I can recall.
One time they paid for me to go to a youth conference. I wasn't even sure what that was, but I sure enjoyed the music, the people, the hotel we stayed at...the message: well, I thought it was a little religious for me.
But by the end of the weekend something was beginning to transpire in my heart.
I wanted what these 'weird' people around me all had...peace...joy...and they sure seemed to have the ability to reach out to others in love. Unselfishness.
Eventually, many years later...I would surrender my life to Jesus Christ. To that cross I'd always seen kicking around this time of year, I now began to appreciate the work of it.
What He had done for me.
That He had taken my punishment.
That He had died for my sin.
That He had loved me enough to give His life.
That He loved me just where I was.
When I first came to the cross, the shadow of my past wrong-doings hit me like a ton of bricks in the face. I felt condemned...not worthy...and then when I first started attending church consistently, I struggled over & over again to forgive myself.
One day I would read these words that radically changed my life:
" Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!"
2 Corinthians 5:17
I truly was a new person. My past had been wiped away clean in His eyes...and that was all that mattered.
***If you are struggling to forgive yourself for something that you deem unforgivable, please don't hesitate to ask Him to help you. You can pray the simplest of prayers, and ask Jesus to forgive you of everything you've ever done wrong. Done in sincerity, it's truly that simple.
"Song: At the Cross by Hillsong"