Jeremiah 29:11 NET Bible
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.
God desires “a future filled with hope” for every single one of us but if we are wanting to step into that future filled with hope and bring it into our today we’ve got to let go of what lies behind.
Philippians 3:13 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead, I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead
Paul was single-minded. This means that he was laser-focused. He forgot the things that are behind and reached out towards the things that are ahead. Many people try and reach out for the things that are ahead without letting go of the things that are behind and this prevents us from stepping into the good plans that God has for us. Part of letting go of the past includes choosing to forgive others and even ourselves. When we hold things against ourselves (AKA self-condemnation) it will lead to negative emotions and even physical sickness. Condemnation kills (2 Corinthians 3:6) and so when we allow ourselves to feel condemned, even by ourselves, it leads to death in our emotions, health and other areas. We need to develop an attitude where the moment we mess up, we declare our true identity; that “even though I just messed up, I am still the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God loves me. And God works all things together for my good and His glory.” We can learn from mistakes but most of us need to learn to let go of our mistakes and forgive ourselves, quickly. God is not remembering our sins (Hebrews 10:17) and so if we’re remembering our sins, then that means that we think that we know better than God. If you cannot forgive yourself, you’re setting yourself up as higher than God. That’s pride. You think that you know better than God but the reality is that God knows you better than you know you, and yet he’s chosen to forgive you – who are you not to forgive yourself? You need to forgive yourself! To forgive yourself means you’re absolving yourself punishment for whatever wrong you’ve done. You’re not punishing yourself for it. We need to pardon ourselves for the stupid things we do! God called you. God gave you a purpose and a destiny. And the amazing thing is that God factored in your stupid; He knew that you would make mistakes and amazingly enough He’s not falling off His throne because of the mistakes you’re making!
We are currently busy travelling and going from here to there a lot, and so we have needed to hire a few cars here and there. I did something stupid the other day. I reversed over spikes in the rental parking lot. I didn’t know there were spikes there and so it was a surprise, or rather a shock! As I was reversing I heard this loud sound of rushing wind which I thought was a fire hydrant (I should have defaulted to assuming it was the Holy Spirit). Then I was stuck. Two flat and completely slashed tires. I knew I had made a mistake for which I would have to pay for. I’m sharing this with you because it was a stupid mistake. I should have been paying more attention. I could not see the spikes and it was a complete accident but My initial reaction was one of being hard on myself. In those situations like this, we always expected ourselves to have known better than what we did and yet the thing is that knowing better doesn’t help us do better. You will never plan to make an accident and these kinds of things happen. We’ve got to learn to forgive ourselves and let go. At that moment for me, I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is going to cost! It’s going to delaying things…” But straight away in my heart, I resolved to let it go.
I said, “Father, I thank You that You work all things together for my good because you love me and I’m called according to Your purposes. I love You and thank You. I’m not going to let this worry me. You knew this was going to happen. You sort it out. I let go of it.” I still needed to sort some admin out with the whole episode but it never weighed in on my heart, again. I’ve learned to live a let go life. We shouldn’t be beating ourselves up because Jesus was beaten for us, for our imperfections. He was punished for us. So, you know, if we’re beating ourselves up when we make mistakes and when we sin, we’re saying that Jesus wasn’t beaten enough for us.
Let go of that offense that you’re holding against yourself. Yes, you should have known better. Maybe you did know better, but you did it anyway and the good news is that God loves you anyway. We need to be more like God and forgive ourselves; let go of the wrongs that we’ve done because if God declared us innocent who are we not to? There’s no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). God declares us innocent! God is not holding anything against us. Who are we to hold anything against ourselves? We may deserve punishment. We may deserve condemnation because of our imperfections or something we struggled with or something we’ve done wrong, but we’ve got to realize that Jesus took what we deserve so we can get what he deserves.
I remember one month, a couple of years back, my wife and I realized that there was more month at the end of our money than money at the end of our month. It was only the beginning of the month and somehow we didn’t have much left. We didn’t plan properly, or we didn’t spend properly but basically we overspent without realizing it. A big mistake! My default thought was, “Oh goodness, because of our bad stewardship, we’re going to suffer this month.” But I immediately stopped that thought and I said, “Jesus took what I deserve so that I can get what he deserves. Jesus has paid for my stupid so that I can experience his blessing.” And you know what? That was one of our best months up until that point that we ever had. We never told anyone that we didn’t have a lot of money that month. You need to let go of unforgiveness that you hold towards yourself and see yourself as forgiven and innocent!