Day 15 – Truth, Freedom, and Forgiving Ourselves

Psalm 51:1–12; Romans 8:26–28

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Do we want to be free? Do we want to be free or do we just wish we were free? If we want to be free we will have to deal with these flaming arrows from the enemy of our souls’the lies and false convictions that drive so many of the destructive behaviors we use to cope (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.). But how?

First, remember that God is more powerful than our enemy (1 John 4:4). God’s Spirit of Truth is available to shed light on the dark spots in our hearts. King David knew this. He wrote Psalm 51 after committing adultery and conspiring to commit murder. “You [God] desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom” (v. 6 NASB). David is saying, “I believe you are a forgiving God and can cleanse me, but I need to be convinced of it in the deepest and darkest parts of my heart.” We need the same thing to happen in our hearts. Second, we need to be aware of behaviors that we know aren’t right but consistently do when triggered in certain ways. It could be being cut off in traffic, criticized or blamed, or some other event, small or large. Often these are signals of behavior based in false convictions. Finally, we must allow God to fully heal the wounds associated with the false convictions we discover. It’s what Jesus came to do—bind the brokenhearted and set the captives free!

This sounds easy, but often people won’t allow God to do it. This is because it typically involves letting God take us back into the pain or events that produced the false convictions. This isn’t easy nor is it for the fainthearted. My dad had one go-to cure for cuts and abrasions: rubbing alcohol. While it was effective at cleaning out a wound and preventing infection, it really hurt! So my brother and I would hide our injuries, sometimes resulting in a scabbed-over wound with infection underneath. When these were discovered, my dad would scrub the wound open with a rough rag and then pour alcohol on it. I want you to know up front that the path to God’s healing of old wounds is often similarly painful and sometimes about as gruesome. But the health and freedom we experience is worth the pain. God sometimes has to let us hurt in order to save us from harm and to restore us to the people he created us to be.

Often this process involves forgiving others or ourselves. This is not easy, but we cannot be legalistic or pharisaical with one another or ourselves. Rather, we must recognize our need for forgiveness and find our way to Jesus, like the sinful woman in Luke 7, using the same principles of forgiveness that we explored last week. Then we can agree with Jesus, who says we are already forgiven!

Closing Exercise

Pray that God would make you aware of behaviors driven by false convictions. Ask him to reveal and plant in your heart his truth that will overcome these false convictions. Pray that, if necessary, he reveals the wounds that led to the false conviction, and that he heals/transforms you.