Hung Up: How Do I Forgive Myself?
Jesus says that we're totally forgiven in him. Do you believe it?
Hear the Word of God as it is recorded in Matthew 27:1-10:
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he said, 'for I have betrayed innocent blood.' 'What is that to us?' they replied. 'That's your responsibility.' So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
I want to talk this morning to those of you who may be walking in Judas' steps. Somewhere along the line, you've done something awful. You know you have sinned and feel terribly remorseful. You may have walked with Jesus. But you can't seem to rid yourself of the guilt, no matter how you try to give back to God. You can't shake the voice of the inner Accuser who says, "You made a choice. You cannot undo this. Now it's your responsibility." The sound of condemnation keeps ringing like coins clanging across the floor of your inner temple. You obviously haven't literally hung yourself like Judas did, but you are hung up in other ways.
A man I know killed his best friend when the two were teenagers. It was one of those unthinkable, horrible, tragic accidents. Through wailing tears, he said how sorry he was. Through sobs and gnashing teeth, the family of the other boy accepted his apology and extended the grace of forgiveness to him. God surely did. But after the funeral, everyone behaved as if this was enough. His mom and dad said, in effect: "It happened. You're sorry. It's been forgiven. We will ...
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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois.