II CORINTHIANS 2:10-11: “Now anyone you forgive, I also forgive. For indeed, what I have forgiven (if I have forgiven anything), I did it for you in the presence of Messiah, so that we might not be outwitted by satan—for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I ignorant of the enemy’s schemes? How many times have I quoted this verse – “…for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”? And yet, as I meditated upon these two verses I realized that I have been tripping over one of his schemes continually in my life. What is this scheme? It is walking in unforgiveness – toward myself!
When I read these verses in the past, I never really thought of the subject of unforgiveness in context to myself. Paul’s words are in the context of forgiveness. The young man caught in sexual sin (I Cor. 5) had repented, and Paul was exhorting the Corinthian church to forgive him and restore him. It is in this context that Paul writes – “…so that we might not be outwitted by satan-for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” I have never really had an issue with forgiving others, but I have long had an issue with forgiving myself.
It is not hard for me to believe that the Lord is gracious and merciful to the one who humbly repents of their sin. I John 1:8-9 is a wonderful truth and comfort.
- “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 TLV
We all sin, and God has promised to not only forgive us our sin, but He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. This means He removes our sin from us. He does not deal with us according to our transgressions, but according to His love and mercy. It is a joy to proclaim this promise over others, but it is another thing to walk in this truth toward myself.
I know that there is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Yet, I find myself walking in disappointment over my failures. I expect more from my life. I am a redeemed child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and even though I know I am forgiven and cleansed, it is hard for me to release the disappointment I harbor toward myself. It has been hard for me to appropriate God’s forgiveness practically in my own life.
This is a viscous scheme of the enemy. It cannot break my relationship with God, but it can stop me dead in my tracks from being fruitful for God. It takes energy to walk in disappointment and unforgiveness toward one’s self. The enemy does not challenge the fact that I am forgiven, for I know the Word of God. However, he tries to convince me that I am no longer worthy to pursue the things that God has called me to. And if I fall for this scheme, it sets me back days, weeks, and possibly could sideline me for the rest of my life.
How many men and women of God are sitting on their gifts and callings simply because they have not forgiven themselves? They are carrying disappointment and disapproval throughout their life for something that God has long since forgotten. Whenever they feel inspired to take up their calling, the enemy reminds them of their past failures and the cycle begins all over again. Each new failure only adds to the cycle. And so many find themselves frozen by this insidious scheme!
How do we overcome this cycle? Paul gives us some plain talking advice in his letter to the Philippians.
- “My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you.” Philippians 3:10-15 TLV
I overcome this vicious scheme when I choose to forget that which lies behind me. I really can’t forget, but I can stop allowing the past to dictate how I live my future. This is part of becoming united with Christ in His death and resurrection. Death to living in disappointment and disapproval, and resurrection in living in the power of His love and Spirit. And this death and resurrection is followed by an active pursuit of God’s will and calling for my life.
I was not good enough when He saved me, and I am not good enough now as I serve Him. It is not about me at all, it is all about Jesus Christ! He has forgiven me! He has saved me! He has called me! He has baptized and empowered me with the Holy Spirit! Christ in me is greater than all my disappointment and disapproval! So I can press on. I can keep reaching forward. I can live in the full revelation and power of His forgiveness. I CAN FORGIVE MYSELF!
Lord, this morning I thank you for Your grace, mercy, and love that You have freely and lavishly poured out upon me. This morning I choose to forgive myself and proclaim my freedom from disappointment and disapproval. I choose to forsake that which lies behind, and by the power of Your grace, and through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit – I will press on toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!
I will press into all that You have called me to do and become!
In Jesus Name!