Corrie Ten Boom during her years of ministry wrote and spoke about forgiveness. If you listen to some of her sermons she is all about intimacy with God and forgiveness demonstrating that the two go together. Whilst reading one of her books “He Sets the Captives Free” I noticed she refers to visiting an African prisoner who was struggling to forgive. Her advice was to “forgive people otherwise we won’t be forgiven”, a difficult phrase to say and receive but one that Jesus taught.
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Maybe the largest challenge we face as we go through our lifespan is to forgive ourselves when we mess up either in thoughts, words or actions. We will mess up most days if we are honest with ourselves but don’t despair as the prognosis for us is good!
Thanks to Jesus we have access to the love of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we hold onto sadness over our failings we are heading into self-resentment, bitterness and landing up on the step of self-hatred that can cause all sorts of issues. The Bible requires us to ” love others as we love ourselves” found in Matthew 12:30-31 if we do not consider this truth we will find it impossible to love others as we can only give what we have received. We are often happy to hear Gods kindness towards us but then beat ourselves up every day therefore failing to act out the truth.
Now love is an action and an attitude so we may need to renew our minds regarding self-image, thereby beginning to honor or respect the temple (oneself) where the Spirit of God lives. Loving oneself is a requirement as our bodies, mind and soul are the temple where the Holy Spirit lives. Therefore we should not despise the place where God dwells through the Holy Spirit as we have mercy toward others we must also allow Gods mercy to touch oneself.
To function in extending forgiveness toward self we must first get rid of any illusion in our minds that anyone of us is perfect, news flash there is no such person apart from Jesus who was or is perfect and sinless. So we must stop striving for that false goal and stop trying to fix ourselves, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives who transforms us so we need more intimacy with God through prayer and stillness not false unachievable goals in our lives.
The prayer that is below is the prayer that Corrie Ten Boom prayed with the African man that you may want to say and reflect on towards yourself.
” Thank you Jesus, that you have brought into my heart Gods love through the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Father, that your love in me is stronger than my hatred.'”
Corrie Ten Boom
By praying and reflecting on those words myself I realised I have the ability and desire to forgive others and myself as its Gods work in my heart and His love is a gift given to me by God Himself. Therefore I must forgive myself as I forgive others, that’s mercy in action.