Summary: Many of understand that God has forgive us but have a hard time forgiving ourselves.
You Asked For It: How do you forgive Yourself
Pastor Jefferson M Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Even for That?
I was the first person to notice her. We were gathered at her apartment to play games. She slid off the couch in slow motion and crumpled into a ball on the floor and began to sob. Sandy’s body lurched and heaved as tears fell on the floor.
I was a dumb college boy. I didn’t know what to do so I simply sat down beside her. I was soon joined by several other friends who sat with her and prayed as she cried.
Finally, she took a deep breath and said, “I know God has forgiven me of my sins. I get that part.” She was a brand new Christian, having come to faith through our college ministry less than two weeks before.
She took a deep breath and continued, “But how could He ever forgive me for…?” She peeled back her soul and revealed her deepest, darkest secret shame. I had known her for years and had no idea.
The room became deathly still as her question hung in the air.
In the past month, I’ve had three different people ask me how they can learn to forgive themselves. Even in the midst of a pandemic and a contentious election, their hearts were hurting and they were looking for peace.. They were living with a backpack full of shame and guilt and it kept them from running their race with freedom and joy.
Do you you have sin that haunts you? Have you ever asked the question how do you forgive yourself? It’s not a new question. In fact, the Apostle Peter had to learn this the hard way.
Turn with me to John 18.
[Slide] Peter’s Declaration
In the upper room, at what we we call the Last Supper, Jesus predicted that one of the disciples would betray Him and that He was “going away.”
These men had left everything to follow Jesus. They had gone all in! And now, instead of ushering in the Kingdom and restoring Israel to its former glory, Jesus is talking about leaving.
[Slide} “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:33,36-38)
Peter was stunned into silence. Bold, brash Peter who had his foot in his mouth a lot of the time. In his pride and bravado, he couldn’t see how what Jesus was saying was possible.
He could never deny Jesus. Ever! How would that even happen? No, he would die for Him.
Peter couldn’t have been more wrong.
[Slide] The Disciples Abandon Jesus
After leaving the upper room, Jesus and the disciples went to a little garden grove called Gethsemane. It was there that Jesus poured out His anguish before the Father in prayer while the disciples kept falling asleep.
Soon the garden was flooded with light as a group of people come looking for Jesus. The disciples couldn’t believe their eyes. This mob was led by none other than Judas:
[Slide] “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:2-6)
What Jesus had predicted had come true. Judas was a traitor who betrayed Jesus with a kiss. (Matthew 26:49) One of their own had betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Peter was enraged and pulled out his sword and started swinging wildly, cutting off the ear of a man named Malchus, a servant of the high priest.
Dr. Luke tells us that Jesus “touched the man’s ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:51)
They arrested Jesus and as they led him out of the garden,“all the disciples deserted him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56)
"A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” (Mark 14:51)