If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, ESV What do you do when you're stuck in the past? How do you make the choice to forgive when you feel that the offense is unforgivable? Begin by reminding yourself of all the times God has forgiven you. Years ago our pastor gave a message on guilt with 1 John 1:9 as the focus text. That message contained one of the most powerful statements about false guilt that I have ever heard--a statement that has impacted my life by helping me to let go of false guilt. If God forgives us for all of our sins through the blood of Jesus and I am still saying that "I can't forgive myself," then I'm behaving as if my standards are higher than God's standards. Wow. That's dangerous ground. Pretty convicting, eh? Well, the same reasoning applies to forgiving others as well. In her account of her life and experiences in Nazi concentration camps, Corrie ten Boom eloquently describes how she came to forgive one of the Ravensbruck guards: Didn't he and I stand together before an all seeing God convicted of the same murder? For I had murdered him with my heart and my tongue. . . . Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. . . . And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself. The process of forgiveness begins, then, with reminding ourselves of the grace given through the blood of Jesus. Praying for His grace to help us forgive the other person gets us moving toward freedom and healing. Better relationships and better lives are built on a generous bed of forgiveness. Through it we are able to heal from emotional wounds, improving our physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Forgiveness sets us free to love again. Initially we may be cautious, guarding our hearts a little more and stepping out slowly as trust rebuilds. It frees us from the grip of past events, restoring our sense of power as we move out of the roles of victim and offender and look to growing as Christ followers journeying in this life together. Excerpt from Better Relationships, Better Life. If you enjoyed today's devotional, check out more from goTandem books.