Yesterday (at church, how ironic) I messed up. When I realized it, I went and admitted it to those I had offended and said I was very sorry for what I had done and that I understood I was wrong. I asked God for forgiveness. Despite their "no problem" responses, I spent time off and on the rest of the day reviewing what I had done in my mind and berating myself for what I had done. I have an overly active self-condemnation habit that I'm working to break.
Fast forward to this morning. The reason I didn't feel forgiven...I didn't ask for forgiveness. I offered repentance and that was a good first step. Asking for forgiveness gives the other person power and requires I submit myself to their response. I AM forgiven by God, but it also feels good to be forgiven by people when we've messed up. No matter what their response might have been to my request for forgiveness, I think I would have walked away feeling forgiven at that point. There is something wonderful about true repentance, the kind that will do anything to make things right. (2 Corinthians 7:10-11)