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Today’s Truth

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Most of the women had left the room. I was picking up my things when I noticed her standing in the shadows. I sensed that she wanted to flee, even as something kept her feet rooted to the floor.

“I’ve been told for years that when I forgive myself, I’ll finally be free,” she said. “But I can’t do it. I’ve tried.”

I love it when God brings two sisters together. Their stories intertwined. I had just shared my story of forgiving those who hurt me in the past, and the freedom I found in that not-so-easy but liberating path. This brave mom and wife sat down across from me and spilled her own story.

She was not the one hurt by those she loved, but the one who caused the pain.

She made mistakes that hurt her marriage and her children. She had said she was sorry. She did the hard work. She had changed, but the burden of shame remained.

This affected the way she viewed herself. It affected her relationships, as she held tight to the belief that she didn’t deserve their love. When she knelt to pray, she didn’t approach her Heavenly Father as a forgiven woman but as one who had to continually strive to earn His love and pay for past mistakes over and over again.

I pulled my new friend close in a hug and whispered these words:

God doesn’t ask us to forgive ourselves. He asks us to receive His forgiveness.

If you search the Bible, you’ll not find a verse requiring or asking you to forgive yourself, but what you will find are these words.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

“. . . as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

This woman had made a lot of strong choices. She chose to express remorse to those she hurt. She chose to sincerely apologize. She chose to work through the hurt and damage with those she loved. It was time to make one more choice.

It was time to receive the generous, life-giving gift of forgiveness God offered her.

Months later, she was still in awe of the transformation that begin that night.

It took time, but she had begun to understand that forgiving herself was not something she could simply do on her own, but something that had already been done on her behalf. That integrated into how she viewed herself and how she loved others. When she knelt to pray, it was as a woman healed and redeemed.

What about you, sister? A new year is upon us. Perhaps it’s time to write a new chapter in that old story. Perhaps today is the day you unwrap that gift of forgiveness He so freely offers each of us.

It’s no longer your job to try to forgive yourself. Instead, you are invited to receive God’s utter and complete forgiveness, and see yourself in that light.

Will you receive that gift?

Let’s Pray
God, I have been trying to forgive myself, but I still carry shame. Today, I receive that gift of forgiveness You hold out to me. Thank you for doing a healing work inside of me that I cannot do on my own. Thank you for a new day, a new chapter, and a new beginning.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Place your name in the blanks of this scripture, 1 John 1:9.

If {_______________________} confess her sins, God is faithful and just to forgive {_________________________} sins and cleanse {_________________________} of all unrighteousness.

Take a few moments and thank Him for that gift.

More From the Girlfriends

Have you been trying to forgive someone, perhaps even yourself?

In Suzanne’s book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness, she shares her story along with biblical teaching. Suzie will gently walk with you to show you what forgiveness is (and what it’s not), how forgiveness releases you, and how forgiving leads you from living in the past to live fully in the present.

© 2020 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

8 Responses to “A Gift Only He Can Give”

  1. carol says:

    Thank you, Suzie for this post…
    I could have been this woman you spoke with.
    It wasn’t until a short time ago, I, finally got it. God’s light bulb moment,for me!
    It is sad for me to look back and realize, how much time I wasted in that stage of “I’m not good enough to be forgiven”.
    My favorite verse is Psalm 103:12. Reading that one small verse, made me realize how much forgiveness God gives us!
    If David could have been forgiven from his “scarlet letter”, so could I!
    To this day, I wear a small sideways cross necklace, as a daily reminder of God’s vast forgiveness, which is pure, abundant love.
    Bless you in your work for being a help for all of us GIGs!

    • Suzie Eller says:

      Thank you, Carol, for sharing this. I love that the light bulb moment happened, and so thankful that you felt the immense forgiveness and fresh start God gives all of us. I love the idea of your necklace. What a personal, beautiful way to remember his grace.

  2. Faith says:

    I felt like I was reading my story today!! This is what I have been struggling with and how much pain I caused…thank you♥️

    • Suzie Eller says:

      Lord, thank you for Faith. Cover her with your presence and with a fresh start. Write a new chapter in her story, one that will draw others back to your love as well. Thank you for her courage to share her heart today.

  3. Jeanne says:

    This was also my story. So many bad, wrong choices all through my life that hurt the ones I love. I have asked and received their forgiveness, but the one who I hurt the most, the one who needed me the most, my husband, passed away before I could ask for his forgiveness, so while I believe God has forgiven me, its still so hard to forgive myself.

  4. Suzie Eller says:

    Father, I thank you for Jeanne. I pray as she reaches for the gift of forgiveness you hold out to her that she will receive it. I pray that you whisper assurance that what is seen on earth is also seen in heaven. May this be a new chapter in her story. A new start. A new freedom over her thoughts and heart and life in abundance, in Jesus’ name.

  5. Stacey says:

    I’ve fallen behind in my daily devotionals and read this one today, almost a week late, and it is still perfect. I have one specific situation where I caused hurt and pain, and it is not fixable per the other person’s choice. Knowing I have done what I could, I still haven’t been able to let it go and forgive myself. Your words and prayers today taught me something new and after my praying, I felt the Lord lift this burden.

    I can’t thank you enough for all these teachings.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8