Do You Forgive Yourself for Past Financial Mistakes?
'It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it's power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you"
Matthew West - Forgiveness
I hear a lot of stories of financial regret. People who are drowning in embarrassment, shame, and regret over past financial mistakes. When hearing those stories, I often wonder - what will it take to let go of those mistakes and begin anew? I mean how do you do that?
(1) Realize that a mistake is only a mistake if you keep defining it as a mistake
Ok, that is a mouthful. However, it is so true. We keep referring to our past actions and decisions regarding money as a mistake. What if you reframed that mistake and called it a lesson rather than a mistake? What if you asked the question - God, what would you have me learn from that mistake so I can let it go and benefit from the learning?
(2) You are only holding yourself prisoner
I love the above lyrics from Matthew West's song Forgiveness. Look at your decisions through the Eyes of Grace and you will be amazed that the prisoner it really frees is you. Now he was talking about forgiveness in general. I do think that it has specific applications to financial mistakes. If we bind ourselves to our mistakes, we are always defined by it. It is being a prisoner. Show yourself some Grace - you did the best at the time with what you knew - now move on, learn from it and create wisdom, and let it go.
(3) God forgets about your past, why can't you?
"Think about it for a moment. Paul tells us plainly that there is "now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). He also says that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). If you continue to condemn yourself after receiving the grace and forgiveness of Christ, isn't there a sense in which you are denying the faith and crucifying the Son of God afresh (Hebrews 6:6)? We think so."
If God can forget about your past, then why can't you? Ask yourself a tough question. What is so valuable to you for holding onto that mistake? The answer to that question might be the release your need. Oftentimes, the answer reveals that there is no purpose for letting it define who we are.
(4) You are in good company
I could write a book on my past financial mistakes. Why do you think I have so much to write about? This is everyone's silent plight. These are the mistakes that we shove in the closet and lock the door for no one to see. Financial mistakes are almost always embarrassing. Oftentimes, you feel like you are the only one making them. That is far from the truth. We all have our stories. We just don't talk about them. After all, do you want to discuss your most embarrassing moments?
Here is the bottom line, you can't go forward financially bound to the mistakes of your past.
Take your past and create a learning than let that mistake go never to think about it again. Stop giving it energy and power over you by talking about it as a mistake. Pray about how you can apply the learning in your life and go forward. God has a lot of Blessing He wants to do in your life. He has forgotten about your past already. The problem lies in our allowing the mistake to define us. If you are stuck to them, it is hard to be in a position to accept God's blessings much less than recognize them.
Today, is a new day! It is time to let go and start anew!