Her name was Mary. That’s not really her name but we shall call her that. When I met Mary, she appeared shy, troubled and nervous. As a matter of fact, when I would try to talk with her she could not even look me in the eye.
Mary became part of our church, and said yes to my invitation to walk with me sometimes. Over time Mary began to open up to me. She told a tale of how she had been unfaithful to her husband. He had found out about it, and Mary ended the relationship with the other man.. In just a few weeks Mary realized she was pregnant. The timing raised a question about who the father of the child was. Mary’s husband became enraged and forced her to terminate the pregnancy, and she had never been able to move beyond the guilt.
I began to talk with Mary, sharing with her scripture showing the total forgiveness of God, His love and acceptance. Mary understood what the Bible said. She understood that God had forgiven her. The problem was that Mary had never forgiven herself. Mary felt she should be punished for the rest of her life and that she was not allowed to ever be happy after what she had done. I wish I could tell you that Mary was able to move on, but Mary never could forgive herself.
Many are stuck today because of something in their past. Struggling under self-condemnation is not the way God wants us to live. Stop replaying in your mind the old recording of your sin, which stirs up guilt, but instead replay the truths of God’s Word. God says in Romans 8:1, 2, “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.” God says in Ephesians 1:6 – “He has made us accepted in the beloved.” Rehearse these promises when the recording in your mind goes off. As you take hold of His forgiveness and release your guilt, you’ll walk out of that jail of self-condemnation into the joy of abundant life.
The story is told of a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with while out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch the next day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.” Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?” So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally just smiled and said, “Well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.” She whispered again, “Remember the duck?” So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done that the devil keeps throwing up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.); whatever it is, you need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He’s just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you. The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets. You don’t have to be a slave anymore. Be free!