One of the main benefits of our loving God is His unending forgiveness. You would think that because of how good He is and how good of a deal it is to receive this kind of forgiveness, we wouldn’t mess that up, right?
Unfortunately, the concept of being human, and that consequently meaning being imperfect, does not exclude our imperfection to God’s graciousness. We are still capable of asking God for forgiveness, Him providing that forgiveness, and then us still acting as if we were never forgiven in the first place. It’s one of those instances when I ask myself how I could possibly do something like that. It seems so nonsensical to hold a grudge against myself, but in a way, it seems easier to hold that self-imposed grudge. Humans also tend to want to do the easiest thing possible, which often doesn’t help the challenging aspects of our walk with Christ.
I think for me, it’s easier to hold onto shame rather than let it go after being forgiven because I get to continue to make myself feel bad for whatever it is that I’ve done. It seems like a better reminder if it’s constantly in my head, rather than allowing that shame to leave my heart and mind because God has rid me of it. Allowing that shame to go means that I have to apply what lesson God put on my heart from whatever it was I asked forgiveness from the next time it happens. Plus, I’m used to making myself feel bad about something until I move on from it. Sometimes forgiving myself after God forgives me makes me feel like I’m forgiving myself too early.
My mindset doesn’t make sense, but being forgiven no matter what, as long as I repent to God, also does not make sense. It seems too good to be true. But every time I hold onto the shame that God has already freed me from, I’m holding myself back from the opportunities God wanted me to gain after being forgiven. Letting go of shame doesn’t mean forgetting my mistakes to the point that I’ll end up making them again, it means that I don’t have to be defined by my sin, that I don’t have to be defined by my time apart from God, that I can always come back into His arms and open my heart to His forgiving love, no matter the shame I feel.