Has anyone ever prayed this, ... or perhaps thought this, ... of yourself?
"God, you know I love you, but I consider myself a bad person in so many areas of my life." "I sometimes have wicked thoughts and desires." "There is so much anger and bitterness in my heart." "I know I've been forgiven, my sins being washed away by the blood of Jesus, confirmed by what is written in Your word:
1John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
And in 1John 2:1, "... And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
1. Advocate: An attorney. One who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court.
2. Propitiation: "Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering; placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.
"So yes, God has forgiven me". "But, How do I forgive myself?"
"How many of us have an easier time forgiving others than forgiving ourselves?"
"How do I forgive myself for all my sinful thoughts and oftentimes actions?" "How can I possibly be used by God, righteous and Holy, as bad as I am, or
as bad as I perceive myself to be?"
Again, does anyone have a problem with forgiving yourself, even though God has forgiven you? That, you are your own worst critic and judge?
The Bible does instruct us to judge ourselves, that we not be judged.
But, it also instructs us to forgive ... which includes forgiving ourselves.
Does anyone here keep doing things he or she doesn't want to do, knowing they are wrong in God's sight?
(ex) Withholding from giving to the church or to those who are less fortunate,
even though we may have money to spare?
(ex) Looking at a woman or a man with lustful thoughts?
(ex) Pursuing hobbies to excess at the expense of pursuing God?
(We can all think of examples of what we are not supposed to do or think)
-- Many of us know Christians or even the Christian we see when we look in the
mirror who have this problem. And it appears we're in good company ...
The Apostle Paul may have had similar issues ... when he wrote this in Romans chapter 7:
"But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire ..." Rom 7:8
"For what I am doing, I do not understand. (In other words, why am I doing or thinking this because I know it's wrong in God's sight) "For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." Rom 7:15
"For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”Rom 7:19-20
"For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (spiritual man). But I see another law in my members (in his fleshly man), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Oh wretched (wicked) man that I am!" Rom 7:22-24
That there is a battle raging between our spiritual man vs. fleshly man.
In his book, The Spiritual Man, Chinese brother Watchman Nee warns us that
the Battleground is in the Mind. Satan delights in attacking our minds probably more than attacking our physical bodies. Which is why we must keep on the whole armor (Eph 6), but especially the 'Helmet of Salvation.' The 'Helmet' helps protect our head, but also our mind, located within our head, from wicked thoughts and desires.
Examples of wicked thoughts
1. "Why do I find myself attracted to that man or that woman? I'm married and a Christian!" "But, maybe God will overlook it, if it only happens once or twice?"
2. "Why am I so envious of my neighbor's new car? "How can he afford to have it but I can't!" "Should I scratch his car to get even with him?" "Then, it won't look so shiny and new!"