Forgive You photo of starling eating a bug.

Forgive You

Forgive You

Yikes. I don’t often feel sorry for yellow jackets. But the bird in this photo is pretty fierce. I would not want to be that bug. Nope. And yet…don’t we hold ourselves mighty like this bug-in-the-beak, when we blow it? You might forgive them, but…forgive you? That’s a different story!

Today, I want to suggest that maybe it’s time to forgive yourself. Yup. You.

We’ve got to. I don’t think there were any exceptions to God’s command. God told us to forgive, plain and simple. And that includes me, and that includes you.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

“But I keep messing up!” Yup; you do. Me, too. And yet, God’s grace isn’t available just for those who offend us. It’s ours, as well. Think about it…can our regrets be larger than the grace and forgiveness of the Almighty?

When it’s said and done…

What did you say?

What have you done?

And while we’re at it…

What did you not say, you know, the words that you might have/should have/could have spoken?

What did you not do, you know, that you might have/should have/could have done?

Sometimes, when a relationship is broken, I struggle incessantly. I keep asking myself many of those questions (see above) and rattle them around, over and over in my worn-out mind.

It will drive you crazy, if you let it. Eventually, though, you have to accept it: you, too, are imperfect, erring, goofy, silly, possibly even foolish. You can’t do life perfectly. You just can’t. So you blew it. Is there help, for you, too?

Ever heard this?

“Coulda/shoulda/woulda’s are from the devil.”

Well, maybe they are; I don’t know.

Maybe they aren’t. I mean, regrets over our mistakes have a place, right? They help us to “own our stuff”, as in taking responsibility for our sins, when it’s all said and done.


Regrets can be helpful in guiding future interactions, future decisions. There is value in looking at how we would do it again, if ever we could.

Yet, eventually, regrets having served their “purpose”, they really do need to get off of center stage. There comes a time when we really do need to move on, past them all. We’e got to get ourselves up and moving on down the road.

How about holding those regrets loosely? I can imagine myself driving on down the road with my windows wide open. After the regrets have “helped me out” (gaining perspective, recognizing my part in this mess), I then just go ahead and toss them out the window.

Hold on too tight, and well, there goes your joy. There goes your peace.

Because there’s this:

Forgiveness is Real

For them, but also for you, too. Do you seek a pardon for your sins of commission? Your sins of omission? Do you wish, oh how you wish, it had been different? If you only knew then what you know now…

But you didn’t. Hindsight, well you know what they say…20/20.

And so, we do the work that imperfect people must do.

We fail. We apologize to the offended, and we confess to God. We repent, change our ways; we learn.

We accept God’s forgiveness, whether the other party ever decides to forgive us, or not. And, then, we do one more thing.

Forgive You

We must forgive ourselves—we do not have an option, as it turns out. To hold our sins as “unpardonable” is just a bit proud, don’t you think? What, Jesus didn’t die for you, too?

And so here we are, left with this task that might be the hardest one of all. We must accept ourselves–imperfect, faltering, incomplete, in-progress, failing and flaying us.

We will not be perfect. We will mess up. Is there grace in this, somewhere, for you, too?

Love your one life well. Like you’d love any other life on the planet. Christ forgives. The Father forgives. Are you going to argue with them?

No. You forgive, with the same grace you showed to those others, to those ones who’ve wronged you.


And you know this part, don’t you?

The best part?

The freedom part?

That part where we are released from condemnation, even if the offended party won’t ever let it go? If they won’t ever forgive us? My friend, even then, we are free.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”

Romans 8:1-3

Live in that freedom. Live in that joy. Live in that worship.


So we thank Him! We praise Him! We let Him know just how grateful we are. Grateful to be set free…we sinners saved by grace. We saints who sin. Beloved children: forgiven, set free. Time, after time, after time.

As we set our eyes above; looking upon His glorious Self, what happens next?

Don’t look now, but–is that your guilt dropping off? Mine, too?

Yeah, I thought so.

Marvel with me at yet another gorgeous facet of that glorious act of worship. It will forever be the truth: our grief, our confusion, our brokenness, and even our sorrows (regrets included) fade away in the glory of His Person.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Fixing our eyes on Jesus…training our eyes upon Him. With our eyes are fixed upon Him, and on that Love that knows no bounds, we’ve got our focus right where it belongs, at last.

It’s not easy, I know. It’s not the natural first place we go. But when we are trained to turn to Him in worship, we are the victors He means for us to be. We live the victorious lives He means for us to live. A thousand hallelujahs, and a thousand more. For Him.

Let us have the mind of Christ. Let us train our minds to take every thought captive to the obedience to Christ. Yes, even in this matter of forgiving others, handing over your regrets, and forgiving you, too.

“Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Colossians 1:2,3

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.”

Psalm 103:1,2

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:4-8 (BSB)

None of us quite get it, in this life. We somehow cannot quite fathom how it is that we are so very loved by Himself.

And so we live like unloved, unseen, uncelebrated waifs, unwanted even by our Maker.

Such a lie. Such a bunch of dangerous, crippling lies.

Cast them off, my friend. Fight back. Flight against the easy way, the blaming way, the self-critical voice that would love you only if.

You are seen! Wanted! Enfolded in the arms of the Beloved, you are precious to Him. Precious to the all-perfect, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, Creator of all.

May you truly accept this kind of love, living that life of freedom and joy that He planned for you, His treasure, all along.

My Lord of Love,

I choose to speak truth over my life. As Your beloved child, I am forgiven! As Your beloved child, I am meant for better things. Free me from too much fixation on my sins. Allow me to let them go, for good.

With so much love washing over my life, I cannot resist You. I will live in this washing. I will wash in Your waters of grace pouring over my heart, my body, and my mind.

I will love You, O God, my strength. I will love You, My Father, my King. I will glory in Your Holy name, choosing to dwell upon You, instead.

Empower me daily to continue to set this thing aside, living freely in the power available to me as a royal, beloved child of the King Most High.

I have a job to do on this earth, for Your glory and in Your power. I will go forth, this day, forgiven, not crippled by this anymore. Here is my life–I will use it to thank You and worship You, forever more.

In the name of Your Most Holy Son my Lord, Jesus the Christ, Amen.