Insight: Forgiveness can be difficult. When we do not feel worthy of forgiveness it becomes difficult for us to receive it. God has offered us forgiveness of all our sin. God knows everything we have done or will do and Jesus sacrifice covered it all. God sees you as worthy. Once you believe that God sees you as worthy it becomes easier for you to believe that for yourself as well.
Forgiveness is about loving yourself. If you do not love yourself you will struggle with this a lot. Forgiveness frees you from being held captive by the pain, however if you feel unworthy or you do not love yourself you will determine that you deserve to live with the pain. Another reason for unforgiveness, is punishing the other party. In all reality whether or not you forgive the other person very little will change for them. In most cases the people we are holding unforgiveness towards do not even realize the pain they have caused us and have no idea that we have been holding these actions and the pain caused by such actions in our hearts.
The place to start is when the negative thoughts come and tell you that you are not worthy of forgiveness, tell them to stop, take a few deep breaths to focus your mind and think of three positive things about yourself. Another thing that is helpful is to think of a statement of affirmation that you can say to yourself at these times. It could be something as simple as I am worthy!
Above all remember forgiveness is a journey. It takes time to get there, so be kind to yourself as you go. Our worst enemy can be ourselves when we are dealing with things. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be.
Issue: I know how I should live and yet I find myself falling into my old patterns time and time again. What can I do about this? Will I ever be able to break free from my old patterns.
Insight: You are not alone in this struggle. Paul, one of the most well known men in the New Testament also faced this. In Romans 7:7-24, Paul talks about his own struggle with sin. How he does what he does not want to do and how he does not do what he wants to do. He thanks Jesus in this passage for setting us free from the bonds that tie that sin to our eternal destiny.
Yet how do we experience freedom before eternity? To be honest, we won't. We will not reach perfection until we are in heaven, however we can continue to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Romans 12:2 confirms this. We are transformed as we grow in our relationship to God. Continue to grow in your walk with God and slowly old patterns will start to fade as new ones emerge.
Issue: I am the only Christian in my family. My husband and children do not even want to hear anything about God. It is so hard to be a Christian in this atmosphere. What should I do?
Insight: I know how difficult it is to watch a family member suffer and in a way this is the same. The freedom from sin and the guilt that goes with it is an amazing gift. Those who have not experienced this gift first hand I believe are definitely suffering. They are drowning in the guilt of their sin and it is hard to watch. It is almost like you are throwing them a life preserver but they respond by saying they don't want it because of the brand name. This is trying and difficult, however I will try my best to give you not only some hope but some ways to stay strong.
First of all I want to share some hope with you. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul states "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." Therefore the one encouraging thing is that your family is sanctified through you.
Secondly, continue to pray for them. Pray specifically that God would bring other Christians into their lives. Pray that the Lord would continue to show them his love in and through you. Pray that the Lord would use you to be a blessing to them and that God would protect you from the enemy while standing in the gap for your family.
Lastly, spend a lot of time alone with God, in prayer and studying the Bible. It is when we spend time alone with God that He can give us the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of circumstance. This time with God will not only strengthen you, but it will also give you a clearer picture of God's heart for your family and may even allow you to have the right words to speak at the time when your family would be ready to receive it.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.