Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Letting Go, the Art of Forgiveness, Week 6 – How to Forgive Yourself
To get answers to any questions on forgiveness that haven’t yet been addressed in this “Letting Go” series, you can email your question to [email protected] and Pastor Dale will answer them on social media.
Today we look at how to forgive ourselves.
The Apostle John was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He wrote the New Testament book of 1 John because the Church had drifted away from what it was meant to be. They had slipped into a lower view of who Jesus is, and a merit-based view of how to connect with God. John wrote this letter to correct these heresies.
Read 1 John 1:5-10:
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Pastor Dale explained four things that will help us discover a better way to forgive ourselves:
Start with the Right View of God
- What are some mistaken views of God that people have?
- What does this passage say about what God is like? What does it mean that there is no darkness at all in God?
- Just as light and darkness can’t exist together, John explains that people who walk in darkness can’t really be in fellowship with God. What is John getting at here?
- Why is it important to understand the absolute purity and perfection of God before we can properly understand how to forgive ourselves?
- Pastor Dale pointed out four statements from Scripture about who God is: God is light, God is love, God is Spirit, and God is a consuming fire. The last one has to do with God’s holiness. What does it mean when Scripture says that our God is a consuming fire?
Move to a Better View of Myself
- “I’m not just a person who makes mistakes. I am a sinner”. Explain the difference between these two views.
- Why is it so important to realize that we are sinners?
- Pastor Dale said, if left to ourselves, humans don’t gravitate toward goodness, we gravitate toward depravity. Do you agree? Why or why not? Give some evidence for your answer.
- Satan seeks to lead us into sin, because his goal is to bring pain, death and destruction to as many people as possible. Sin is destructive and it ultimately leads to death. How is this view of sin different from what many unchurched people think of sin?
Perfect the Practice of Confession
- Read I John 1:9 again. Why is confession of sin so important, according to this passage?
- John Ortberg, in his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted, explains that we don’t confess our sins because God needs it. Rather, God commands us to confess our sin because we need it. Confession accomplishes two things:
- It liberates me from guilt.
- It makes me less likely to sin in the same way in the future.
How does true confession make it less likely that I will sin in the same way in the future?
- Jesus has fully paid the penalty for all our sin. Confession enables us to accept that gift personally and apply it to our own personal sin. When you consider what Jesus did for you, how do you feel?
Put God’s Word in You!
- Read I John 1:10. Note that John says it’s important to have God’s Word in us. If you memorize what Scripture says about you, you can use those Words of Scripture to fight the negative self-talk that Satan tries to drag you into. What are some typical lies that Satan will tell us about our past sins?
- Name some Scriptures you could use to combat those lies.