Category Archives: forgiveness

Why Can’t I Forgive? – the secret to forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the most spiritual acts you can do. Nothing makes you more like God than when you forgive. But a question I often get is: “Why can’t I forgive? I tried and it didn’t work.”

Why Can’t I Forgive?

There are many reasons why forgiveness doesn’t “work.” As I’ve said in other posts, and in my book STUCK, we often have a wrong conception of what forgiveness is. Forgiveness isn’t forgetting, excusing, trusting, reunion, conditional, or a feeling.

Another reason we can’t forgive is we try to do it on our own. We don’t include God in the process…and it IS a process. Again, I outline this process in my book STUCK. From admitting your anger, to grieving your loss, to reframing your offender, and more, God needs to be a part of every step. It’s a great lesson in prayer, asking God to help you with each step.

Why Can’t I Forgive? The Secret to Forgiveness

But there is a simple mistake many people make that prevents them from ever forgiving: they put their focus on what THEY are trying to do (forgive) and not what GOD wants to do in them.

Let me explain. The average forgiver knows they need to forgive to honor God and move on with their life. But the problem is, they are so hurt, when they think of forgiving their offender, all they can do is think about how they were offended. They barely make it out of the gate before they get thrown off their game.

Look at the wedge in this circle. The wedge represents the loss in your life. This is what was taken from you. Most people want their offender to put back what they took. In some rare cases they might be able to do that. But even then, there is still the hurt that they did it in the first place.

In most cases your offender either doesn’t want to restore what they took or they are unable to. Yet you keep expecting something from them: restoration, repentance, humility, a sincere apology, etc. That’s probably not going to happen, and so it just makes it really hard to forgive them.

Instead, what you need to do is bring your loss to God. Rather than focusing on your offender and what you want from them, ask God to fill up your loss. Ask HIM to restore you. This might sound simplistic, but it is the secret to your being able to forgive and move on.

You see, as long as you feel the loss, you will suffer lack. You will be deficient, and deficient people aren’t forgivers. Forgiveness is a generous act and generosity comes out of the overflow of your life. You will never overflow with forgiveness by focusing on your loss or your offender. But if you ask God to fill up your losses, he will do that and more. Then you will be able to offer forgiveness and move on with your life.

Why Can’t I Forgive? God’s fullness is the answer.

The apostle Paul prayed that we might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). That’s what it takes to forgive others. And when you are filled to God’s fullness, Paul says that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

The truth is, you CAN forgive. You just need to put your focus in the right place.
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Forgiven: How Guilt Can Block God’s Forgiveness

Forgiven, that’s what we all want: to be forgiven…by God, by others, by ourselves. The following is an excerpt from by latest book: Starting Over…finding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself.

Meet Steveforgiven

Let me tell you about Steve. Steve has a drinking problem, but he never saw it coming. He got started drinking heavily in college with his buddies. He thought after college that things would change, but he found that old habits die hard. Steve realized that he didn’t have the self-control he thought he had.

How would your life change if you knew that you were completely forgiven and accepted unconditionally?

When Steve’s friends invited him to the bar, he always said yes. And when they encouraged him to have one more, he never said no. After the third drink he lost count. He knew it wasn’t right but thought, “Hey, I’m not hurting anyone.” He was just having a good time.

In his honest moments, Steve knew that he was hurting someone. He was hurting himself because his drinking hurt his health. It hurt his relationships. It hurt his job performance. It also hurt his relationship with God.

Steve’s excessive drinking made him feel guilty. But things had gotten out of control, and he didn’t know how to get back on track. Like I said: he never planned his life to be this way. One thing just led to another.

When God is the Problem

Interestingly enough, Steve’s faith in God was actually a part of the problem. He felt so ashamed of his failure that he drank more trying to cover his guilt. It was a vicious cycle. The more he drank the guiltier he felt. The guiltier he felt the more he drank. He never dreamed of being forgiven.

After a while, Steve stopped feeling guilty. He grew numb. He just accepted that he was a drinker and resigned himself to a life without God. It wasn’t what he wanted, but it was better than feeling guilty all the time.

Steve’s story describes many people I’ve talked to over the years. Just change the name, and the addiction, and Steve might be someone you know. Steve might even be you. Instead of a drinking problem it might be a problem with food, pornography, gambling, shopping, anger, or any number of things.

Guilt: The Roadblock to Being Forgiven

What often keeps us from getting the help we need is guilt. We are so ashamed of what we’ve done that we push God away, assuming he wants nothing to do with us. But in doing that, we push away our greatest help.

What if Steve could live a life free from guilt? How do you think Steve’s life would change if he knew that he was completely forgiven, and God accepted him unconditionally, just the way he was… warts, addiction, and all?

More importantly, how would your life change if you knew that you were completely forgiven and accepted unconditionally?

I’m not talking about being free from all guilt. Some guilt is good…I’m talking about the false guilt that lingers and often turns to shame. I’m talking about the feeling that weighs on you and makes you want to avoid anything remotely associated with God, because you are convinced of his disgust for you.

True guilt has a short shelf life, that is: once guilt serves its purpose in getting you to see your wrong, it starts to spoil. It’s like soured milk: guilt turns from being helpful to being hurtful. But many people keep drinking the “sour milk” of guilt thinking it’s the right thing to do… even the godly thing to do. They just assume that all guilt is from God and so they embrace it. Big mistake.

The truth is that God wants you to move from guilt to grace as quickly as possible. Put your past behind you and start building your new regret-free life. Live forgiven. [adapted from chapter nine from Starting Over: The Problem of Guilt.]

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Free Kindle Book: STARTING OVER…a look at the forgiveness of God

Free Kindle Book

FREE Kindle Book

Free Kindle Book. There’s no better time to release a new book about Starting Over than on Easter. Jesus came, died, and was resurrected so we could all start our lives over. And there’s no better way to introduce a new book than by giving it away for free!

Starting on Easter, through Tuesday, my new book, Starting Overfinding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself, will be a free Kindle book at Amazon.com. If you attend one of our services at Cedarbrook Church, it will be given away in paperback.

From the Back Cover of Starting Over

You are perfect in God’s Eyes. Impossible? Not if you understand what Jesus did for you. Many people talk about God’s forgiveness, but few understand how radical it really is. Instead, they climb onto the hamster-wheel of performance, working to please God, while unresolved guilt eats away at them. Sound familiar?

Loved this book. It’s a fast read and made me take a more biblical look into God’s forgiveness instead of being left to dwell on my own guilt and shame.

To counteract this common mistake, F. Remy Diederich has written, Starting Over...finding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself. The book lays out how God made you perfect in his eyes, as well as how being forgiven impacts your life.

With twenty brief meditations, the author hopes to convince you of God’s unquestionable and unfathomable forgiveness. His goal is to help you move past your regret and start living the new life that God has for you.

If guilt and regret have pushed you away from God, Starting Over might be the next book for you to read.

Can You Help Promote Starting Over?

I write books so people will read them. I know, crazy idea. But, the truth is: most books on Amazon.com aren’t read. They just sit there like orphans. If you want your book to get read, you have to ask for help. So, that’s what I’m doing! I’m hoping you will do me a favor, well, actually a few:

  1. Go to Amazon.com and search in “Books” for “Forgiven.” Currently my book is listed on page 5. Click on my book and “buy” it for free. Searching this way will help the book move toward the first page of ranking.
  2. Read the book this week (it will take you just over an hour) and post a review on Amazon.com. That helps A LOT. People decide whether to buy books based on reviews. The more reviews I get the higher the book ranks on their search engine.
  3. Post the link to the book on your Facebook page and let people know that it’s free.

That’s it. Those three things will make a big difference. If you believe in the message of Starting Over (God’s radical and unconditional forgiveness) it’s an easy way to spread the message.

So far the reviews are super positive. For example, one person wrote:

Loved this book. It’s a fast read and made me take a more biblical look into God’s forgiveness instead of being left to dwell on my own guilt and shame. You can read it as a daily devotional, but I couldn’t put it down and read through the whole thing in one sitting.

Enjoy the free kindle book. I hope to read your review of it soon!

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God’s Forgiveness Makes You Perfect in the Eyes of God

God’s forgiveness makes you perfect in the eyes of God. Can you believe that? My hope is that my new book, Starting Overfinding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself, will convince you of just that.

Today I’m quoting from Day Eight of the devotional where I look at the benefits of forgiveness.

Forgiveness Makes you Perfect in the Eyes of God

Perfect in the eyes of God. That might sound too good to be true. I had it explained to me like this. Imagine that you and Jesus are sitting side by side and Jesus asks Father God: Which one of us is more perfect in your sight? What would the Father say? He’d say, “You are both perfect in my sight.”

When I first heard this, it sounded wrong. How could I be equally perfect in God’s sight as Jesus? But that’s what Jesus’ death did for you and me. The Bible tells us:

By one sacrifice God has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14 (emphasis is mine)

This verse is about you. Jesus’ death made you perfect in the eyes of God, not for a moment, but forever. It tells you that Jesus’ death cleaned your slate.

When my kids were little and they started washing dishes, I’d often have to go back and rewash them because they missed some spots. Our forgiveness is a lot like that. It’s spotty. It’s not often complete. But God’s forgiveness is perfect. The word “perfect” means “to be fully complete. Nothing lacking.” As a result, you stand before God completely blameless.

When is the last time someone looked at you as completely blameless? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone look at you without remembering all of your mistakes, all your sin, all your failure, and past history? That’s how God looks at you.

But the really good news is that this cleansing isn’t a temporary state. It doesn’t have a thirty-day shelf life. This cleansing lasts…forever. That means you can breathe deep. Relax. Quit looking over your shoulder. Your struggle is over. You’ve been restored to God and he is now in the process of making you “holy,” that is, set apart for his purposes. From Day Eight: Perfect in God’s Eyes.

Click here to view the book on Amazon.com

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Stop Punishing Yourself and Find God’s Forgiveness

As I prepare to launch my newest book: STARTING OVER how to find God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself …I’m releasing portions of the book in advance. This is from the meditation called: Stop punishing yourself.

If you would like a free advance PDF copy of the book, I’m happy to send it to you in exchange for posting a review of the book on Amazon.com on the day it launches (currently projected at April 10th). Request your copy here.

Stop Punishing Yourself

WHY ARE WE SO QUICK to dwell on our failure? I think it’s because we feel the need to punish ourselves for what we’ve done. Rather than embrace God’s forgiveness and celebrate it, we embrace guilt as our cross to bear: our penalty for failing God.

We know we can’t make things right. We can’t undo our past or fix what’s broken. But maybe if we embrace guilt God will see our remorse and be pleased with us. We hope that embracing guilt will salve our regret and soften God’s judgment against us.

That’s our solution…as bad as it is. But God has a better solution. He forgives us. I know that might sound simplistic; the apostle Paul put it like this:

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:19 (emphasis mine)

That’s such a simple definition of forgiveness: not counting your sins against you. Paul compares God to an accountant checking his books with its debts and credits. In God’s “ledger book” you have no outstanding debts. You don’t have to worry about getting harassing “collection calls” because Jesus paid all your debts with God.    A selection from Starting Over


If you struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness, this book is for you. If you know someone who struggles with forgiveness, it’s for them too. Please share this post with them and look for the book on April 10th.

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Your New Life Starts Here: God’s Forgiveness

I’m preparing to launch my new book: Starting Over...how to find God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself. The launch date is set for April 10, the Monday of Easter week. I thought that was an appropriate time to launch a book about God’s forgiveness and starting a new life.

Leading up to the launch I’m going to post selections from the new book. It’s a short devotional with twenty meditations about God’s radical, unconditional forgiveness.

If you would like to get a free copy of the book now, in exchange for posting a review on the Amazon.com sale page, I’ll gladly send you one. Request your free copy here.

Day One: Throwing it all away

TIME magazine reported the reemergence of Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York. He was known as a man who fought corruption with a vengeance only to be exposed as a regular user of a high dollar prostitution ring. To make matters worse, he covered his addiction by sending money to shell corporations that funneled the money back to the prostitution ring. TIME called it,

…hypocrisy on a scale that was hard to fathom…as if Eliot Ness had been busted for peddling gin from his apartment. [1]

When the news hit the paper, his career was over. Currently he is trying to find his way back into politics, but the writer of the story wasn’t so sure it could happen. She said,

To learn that Spitzer was the world’s biggest hypocrite, that he’d thrown it all away to frequent prostitutes, was devastating, a lapse that could never be forgiven.

When she mentioned this to Spitzer, he responded,

“’How do you think I feel?’ he said, his eyes welling up. ‘I know exactly how you feel. At one point I stood for something that was important and useful. I was in a place in time where I had a purpose, where it mattered. And then I destroyed it.’”

Thankfully his wife seemed to forgive him but not without some residue in their relationship. The article said,

His wife…appears to have forgiven him. “I don’t know if you can ever mend something like this, in the sense of repair the canvas so that you never see the tear in the fabric,” he said. “I’m incredibly lucky to be with a woman who is willing to deal with that tear in the fabric and keep moving forward.”[2]

Spitzer said there would always be a scar in the fabric of his marriage. TIME said the public would never be able to forgive him. And Spitzer himself said he destroyed his purpose in life.

As I read this, it made me wonder if Spitzer will be defined by his indiscretion for the rest of his life. Will his name be synonymous with hypocrisy and prostitution forever? Will he ever be able to move beyond his mistakes or the shame?

Maybe you have also made mistakes, or suffered failures, that haunt you and rob you of the life that God planned for you. Can you imagine hitting the “reset” button on your life? How would that change things for you?

God has good things in store for you. He wants to help you start over. That’s what I want to explore over the next few pages. Let’s work at getting your life back.


Thanks for reading this excerpt from chapter one of Starting Over. Remember to request your free copy if you are willing to post a review of the book on the day it launches, April 10th. Thanks!

[1] Elliot Ness was the leader of the famed “Untouchable” crime squad that fought bootleggers during Prohibition.

[2] Eliot Spitzer’s Impossible Mission, by Sheelah Kolhatkar, March 15, 2010, TIME

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Discover God’s Forgiveness in “Starting Over”

I’m convinced that one of the most overlooked truths in the Bible is God’s absolute and unconditional forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is assumed but not embraced. Most believers are afraid to admit this allowing unresolved guilt to eat away at them.

Finding God’s Forgiveness

God's forgiveness

Discover God’s Forgiveness

As a result of failing to understand and accept God’s forgiveness, people fall into a variety of legalistic traps. Their guilt pushes them away from God and into a hamster-wheel of performance, working daily to please God and people, hoping for their acceptance.

Sound familiar?

To counteract this Christian secret I have written a short book called: Starting Over...finding God’s forgiveness when you find it hard to forgive yourself.

The book lays out in plain language why God forgave us and how he did it. My hope is that after people read this book they will understand God’s forgiveness in a way that will convince them of its reality. I want to help people push past their regret and start living the new life that God has for them.

One early reviewer wrote:

I’ve always struggled feeling worthy of God’s love. I can honestly say that after reading “Starting Over” that I feel a stronger connection with God and his gift of forgiveness.

Get a Free Copy of “Starting Over”

I’m hoping to launch the book by Easter (April 16th) but I need some help. I’d like 50 people to read it and then post a review on amazon.com the day I launch it.

If you are willing to help me out, I’ll send you a free PDF copy today when you email with your request. On launch day you will get the Kindle version for free.

The book takes less than two hours to read. Have we got a deal? Email me here to request your copy. I’ll notify you when the book launches. You can also help me out by sharing this post on Facebook. A few of your friends might appreciate the chance to read the book.

Thanks for your help!

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