Devotions from James Smith book, Embracing the Love of God

It is often easier to accept God’s forgiveness for things we have done than to forgive ourselves. It takes courage to forgive ourselves and to silence the voice that condemns us. In fact we may become comfortable with our pain and failure and actually fear freedom. If we can see ourselves as weak and broken, it will not shock us when we fall. But if we see ourselves as only a righteous person, then failure is hard to admit. God expects more failure from us than we do from ourselves because He knows who we are. “We are not the righteous person who occasionally sins, we are the sinful person who occasionally-by God’s grace- gets it right.”  But God brings our actions to the light, calls them what they are, gently reminds us WHO we are and Whose we are, and helps us believe that we have been forgiven. The six stages the author mentions in the process of forgiveness is 1. honesty-we are to tell the truth and not rationalize our behavior or to look for a scapegoat. 2. Identity. We must admit that we are not perfect and we are more foolish than we would like to admit. 3.Faith-He wants us to trust in His forgiveness and rely on what He has done for us. 4. Reconciliation-we need to make peace with ourselves and see ourselves with His compassionate eyes. 5. Celebration- to acknowledge the goodness of God for His forgiveness. 6. Redemptive Remembering- we can remember an event as a time of pain but also as a testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.  God forgives us quickly and completely but sometime we do so slowly. Let us define ourselves as God does and not according to the sins we have committed.  The sign that we have actually forgiven ourselves is that we can love freely.