It’s fairly common to find ourselves repeating negative patterns. Eventually, hopefully, we realize that doing the same thing over and over again, and hoping for a different outcome, doesn't work. We are so good at it all, and the repetitive choices, the guilt and the bad memories; they can send us into a tailspin. Confusion and anger over either one can add to the turmoil. We can find ourselves believing that trying again is just not worth it. No one has the power to condemn us the way that we can. We can lug that old baggage around with us for years and years without relief.
1 John 1:9 ESV
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
This verse teaches us that to be forgiven we have to confess our shortcomings, our failures, our inadequacies, and yes, even our repetitive choices that end up with negative outcomes, our sins, to God. We need to ask God to forgive us. We can get all twisted up about the asking, but God has more forgiveness for us, than we have mistakes. We simply have to ask. Forgiveness means that once we have asked God to forgive us, something happens next. The next thing is that God forgives us and then, glory of glories, He forgets it. The Bible tells us in Micah 7:19 that God throws our forgiven sins to the bottom of the ocean, Hebrews 8:12 and Hebrews 10:17 says that God will remember them no more.
When God forgives us, He cleanses us of all unrighteousness (guilt). Cleansing means to wash away, remove, take it away. If God can forgive us AND forget AND remove what we did (or didn't do), we should be able to forgive ourselves too. If we are still holding onto that useless baggage, we are the ones that are holding us back. Forgiving ourselves is hard. First and foremost we have to realize and believe, that once we have asked God for forgiveness, it's already been forgiven and forgotten by God. Clear the air and talk it over with God. We have to ask God to help us put our useless baggage in the deepest part of the recesses (the ocean) of our memories where it won't plague and harass us anymore.
If our sense of guilt, that memory, is still there and causing havoc, we should ask God to help us let it go. Maybe there is something that needs to be revealed or resolved. Admittedly we can have blinders on when it comes to our own issues. Ask God if there is a particular scripture, or bible study, or class, or group, or therapist, or person, or ... or something that might be able to help us make our way out of the weeds. John 3: 16-17 says that God send His Son, Jesus, to save us, not to condemn us. Jesus doesn't want us holding on to useless guilt; it has no purpose. The only use it has is to steal our joy, kill our purpose and destroy our self esteem. Our forgiveness begins when we confess to God. Give it to God and let it go. If we find ourselves picking it back up, give it to God again and let go again...and again and again and again until it’s gone. It can take time and effort on our part, to part with our baggage, but is always worthwhile in the end. Give it to God and let it go. Step away from the bag and let it go. Let go and let God. Let God.
Dear God, please forgive me for (insert thing/action here). I am sorry for (insert thing/action here). Please help me to have the ability to (change, or let go, or forgive another, or yourself, or....) and the wisdom, strength, and faith to become the person that you want me to be. Thank You. In Jesus Name, Amen.