Several months ago I sat through the Awana grand prix event watching my son’s pine car race against other cars. I wouldn’t normally attend Awana as children are not necessarily my socialization choice, but because it was the grand prix I wanted to support my son. There was a message before the grand prix started in which a man I have known my entire adult life spoke about salvation from sins.
This man, Ken Rudolph, talked about how attempting to do good things cannot wipe away the slate of bad things you have done. He said that once you have sinned you must rely on the saving grace of God who can wipe your slate clean. True faith in God assumes that I know I am a sinner, I believe that Christ died and rose again to take on the punishment owed me, and that I live accordingly. Without accepting this as truth and Christ as my Savior I am stuck. Without a Savior, one sin, one bad thing, and I am condemned to hell. No matter how many good things I do to make up for it I can never be righteous. This may seem harsh, but this is just.
I understand this without a doubt, and I believe it, but I am having difficulty reconciling this information with the idea of forgiving myself. Some may argue I shouldn’t have to forgive myself if God has forgiven me, but I feel the pain and anger of the choices I have made and cannot feel contentment. My belief that one sinful choice negates all of the wise and gracious choices is destroying me from the inside out. I think of one specific set of choices that set off a whirlwind of sin and beat myself up, refusing to forgive myself. I have made many wise choices since, but those do not erase what I have done in the past. I believe I am forgiven by God, but how He feels about me does not seem to have an effect on how I see myself. Though it should.
Recognizing this and working beyond self discovery toward self acceptance is a step in the right direction regarding my intention to show kindness toward myself this year, but I need a lot of help in this area. I am open to discussion and welcome it on this topic, especially the need to forgive self, but one must understand that I do feel it is necessary to move on.