There is another side to this that I have not spoken of very much and wanted to address it here; and that is the whole “religious guilt” deal. We’ve got to be able to forgive OURSELVES too! Forgiveness isn’t something we just do to others to free ourselves, but it is something that we do to ourselves to free ourselves. Example: Maybe your past is like mine, full of very un-Christ-like behavior like drug use, sexual promiscuity, and all sorts of junk? And you feel guilty for the way you lived, or for what you’ve done. You may even feel that God can’t forgive you, or can’t love you because of what you did? And you feel that God does love others more because they haven’t done what you’ve done?
Listen, I’ve been there. I have in years past struggled with forgiving myself of some sinful things … I knew that God forgave me, but I couldn’t really receive it, nor could I forgive myself and let myself be fully loved by God because of what I’ve done that I felt so bad about. Does that resonate with you? Do you struggle letting God in, or other people because of your past (or maybe it’s not even the past … maybe it’s your life now?)
1 John 1: 9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
Just GOOGLE “Scriptures on forgiveness” and you can find all the Bible verses on it … read them daily!
And can I just add here … no one deserves God’s forgiveness, this is what makes it a gift … that is GOD’S GRACE and MERCY at work … receive it, even for your own sins and shortcoming!