To Forgive, You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

forgiveIn yesterday’s blog, we wrestled with “why” we should forgive ourselves. Knowing and understanding that the concept is a struggle for most people and realizing that if we continue to live in the guilt and shame of our past, even though God has forgiven us, we will never fully live our future as His masterpiece. Yesterday, we looked at how we have a loving heavenly Father and everything we know about His character would tell us that He does not want us to be stuck in the mire of our past sins or mistakes, but that He wants us to live a life of hope, freedom and the reality of having a clean slate.

The title of today’s blog is based on Jesus’ words:“The most important commandment is must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  (Mark 12:29-31 NLT) In this verse, we find a principle that God operates the universe with: you cannot give what you don’t have.

Love Forgives

Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  How can you give love to another if you don’t have love for yourself? Love always forgives. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.”  (1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NLT)

If love forgives, keeps no record of being wronged, and you are to “love your neighbor as yourself”, knowing that you cannot give what you don’t have, then it makes sense why the enemy wants to keep us from forgiving ourselves. He knows that the lack of being able to forgive yourself will result in a lack of being able to forgive others, which keeps all of our relationships in turmoil and keeps us from enjoying life as the masterpiece God created us to be.

Healthy Relationship

In every healthy relationship, you will find forgiveness because love forgives. Regardless of how perfect you think the person you love is, at some point, you will need to forgive them and they will need to forgive you. Someday, there will be hurt or disappointment, forgiveness is a part of love. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Therein lies one of the biggest problems we have relationally. We think we can love others without loving ourselves. We think we can give something we don’t have. We think we can forgive them when we haven’t forgiven ourselves. We can’t, because we can’t give what we don’t have.

In the Bible, Paul says that we are to “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”. (Colossians 3:13 NLT) Did you know that the word Paul uses for “others” is the Greek word heautou. It literally means: him, her, myself, yourself, ourselves. That verse could be read to say, “so you must forgive him, her, myself, yourself, ourselves.”

You see, if you are going to live out your potential as the masterpiece God created you to be, if you are going to live Jesus’ command of “loving your neighbor as yourself”, than it is imperative that you walk in forgiveness. Forgiveness begins with us receiving forgiveness from our loving heavenly Father. Then we must forgive ourselves in order to live in forgiveness and forgive others.

How Do I Forgive Myself?

Tomorrow’s Life Palette blog is entitled “How Do I Forgive Myself”, I’m going to give you a few practical steps to living out this necessary step to living life as the masterpiece you were created to be.


Do you feel like you struggle to forgive yourself? Why or why not? Let me know on Facebook:

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